Superintendent, Prescott Unified School District
Interview by Ray Newton
Joe Howard cares about Prescott’s students – and it shows. Following his second year as superintendent, (he is now in his third year) he received the prestigious Distinguished Administrator award from Arizona School Administrators. And he continues to make a difference every day. Through his mission to create a good work culture for faculty and staff, partner with the local community and – most importantly – give students all they need to succeed, Howard is bringing leadership and results to the nearly 150-year-old school district. An advocate of public education, a family man and longtime Prescott local, Howard puts the “super” in superintendent.
Prescott LIVING: Thank you for sitting down with us! You and your family have been involved in education for many years. Your father Jim Howard was superintendent of schools in Prescott for years. How did your family influence you and your career?
Joe Howard: I think it’s huge, Ray. My dad still says, all the time, it’s the most important profession in the world. You know, I think some of it was like osmosis. When it came time to choose my career, I remember right where I was. I went to Phoenix College, before NAU, on a wrestling scholarship. I was taking a creative writing class at night, and I said, “Well, I think it’s time to decide what I should do with my career.” And it took about two seconds. I said, “I’m going to be a teacher. It’s the most important thing in the world.” My mom was an incredible elementary teacher. They’ve been a huge influence on me and still are. We’ll still have family discussions about what’s happening in education. It was like the family business. I feel the way about PUSD like I do about my home and my family. You do the best thing that you can for those folks and for yourself and for your community, and so I think that definitely was inherited, to a large extent.
Prescott LIVING: Joe, you’ve had opportunities to move your career elsewhere. Why have you stayed in Prescott?
Joe Howard: Oh gosh. I can probably answer it the same way so many people do in Prescott. I mean, there are so many things to love about Prescott. First of all, this morning, my wife and I rolled out of our front gate on our mountain bikes at 5:00 in the morning. We just had some fresh rains, and it was beautiful.
I met my wife, Jenna, in Seattle. I was a crab fisherman in Alaska and I took the boat down to do shipyard work, and I was living on the boat, and met her there. I was substitute teaching there, got a job offer as a head wrestling coach and a teacher there. My wife said, “Hey, look, you’re the one starting the career. What do you want to do?” And I said, “I want to raise kids in the greatest place in the world to raise kids.” And so we came to Prescott to raise our kids.
But I’ll tell you now, this has come full circle, and in just a few days, I’m going to be looking at 500 staff members and welcoming them back to the school year and I’m going to thank them for creating this beautiful atmosphere for my kids to grow up in.
Prescott LIVING: And your job is more than the paycheck?
Joe Howard: Yes. It’s a passion. I’ll go so far as to say it’s a calling. We’ve been through some tough times here in PUSD over the last 10 years, especially with the downturn of the economy. I came into the district office – this will be my eighth year in the district office and third as superintendent – and in the last seven years, we cut around 250 people and closed two buildings. That was pretty hard, but we were losing great people, saying, “Look, if Arizona doesn’t support what we do, we’re going to go somewhere else,” and they would leave and I would say, “Hey, somebody’s got to stay here.” We’ve got 4,000 kids. This is a beautiful community. And, lots of us did. You know, we never stop doing great things for kids. Not once. Not even in the toughest of times. So, I’m pretty proud to just be a part of that and to be around these folks.
Prescott LIVING: What I’m hearing is it’s a team effort. But where have you, as Joe Howard, had real influence? That’s a tough one.
Joe Howard: Hmm…that is a tough one. I’ll talk about my leadership style. You know, as a wrestling coach, as a teacher, as a principal, now as a superintendent, I’ve gone into situations and kind of taken a look at where we are and where we should go, and you do that by listening to people and building that team and listening to what their concerns are. I’ve just learned from the people around me. We figured this out together, but you know, you start believing in yourself and you start talking about what you want it to look like and you create that expectation and then it turns and that vision is fulfilled, because I believe it. And then, pretty soon, you believe it. We believe it together. We say it to the kids; we say it to the parents; we say it to the teachers and all over the community, and then it becomes real. So that’s one way to describe my leadership style, I’d say.
Prescott LIVING: Is there ever a day off?
Joe Howard: [Chuckles] Yeah, sure. I mean you have to. Now this last vacation that I just took, for some reason, I didn’t shake work very well. But, we love the outdoors, so we like to sail. Somebody gave us a sailboat, and we turned it into something that we could take to the Sea of Cortez and Lake Pleasant – that kind of thing. We also like to ride mountain bikes and hike. We do backpack trips and things like that.
That sort of refuels me when we get out there, and what I found is I can gain perspective by getting away from my daily life and immersing myself in something completely different, like climbing a crazy hard mountain with a backpack on and, you know, getting poured on rain and [chuckles] sleeping in a puddle. But, yes, people call me day and night, and I encourage that. You know, or people say, “Oh I don’t want to bother you on your cellphone,” and I go, “No, here, this is my cell phone number. If you need something, call me. That’s my job.”
It’s the city that never sleeps. Prescott High School is almost open 24/7, but we also want to be a center of the community. We encourage our folks and we encourage our principals to open up to the public and, you know, if we’re not doing something in Ruth Street Theatre, well, let’s have the community doing something in the theater. We like our buildings to be full.
Prescott LIVING: You came here in 1996. How many schools were there, then? The schools have had a tough time.
Joe Howard: So in ‘96, we had six elementary, two middle schools and a high school. We then had 750 staff members. Now we have around 500.
Prescott LIVING: What is your current school enrollment?
Joe Howard: Um, we’re just below 4,000, around 3,890.
Prescott LIVING: Is enrollment increasing?
Joe Howard: We had a good bump last year in enrollment, and this year we have leveled out.
Prescott LIVING: How many employees do you currently have? How many faculty members? How many professional staff and maintenance/custodial?
Joe Howard: We have fewer than 500, so almost around 250 teachers and around 250 classified staff, I’ll call it. We have contracted out for food service, and just last year, we started contracting out with custodial. We heard from the community, “Why don’t you do more of this?” And so we looked into it, and to get it where it made sense.
Prescott LIVING: Joe, my experience is most people do not understand school budgeting. Explain school budgeting, so that people will understand the divisions.
Joe Howard: Yeah, and I’ll go pretty elementary with it, because otherwise it gets complex really fast. I would break it into three categories. We have hundreds of different accounts. We have to code them a certain way based on law, but we have a maintenance and operation account. That’s our biggest account, and that’s to pay our staff and cover daily operation. We cannot use a penny of that to fix buildings.
Then, we have a capital account, which has been cut almost completely by the state. We only receive about 10 percent of that whole formula, but those capital dollars can be used on buildings and building repair, but cannot be used on staff. And, you know, 80 percent of our budget is staff, so that’s where the biggest struggle is.
Then we have grants that come from all over, and we’re grateful for all those, but we also get lots of community grants – lots and lots! You’ll hear me say over and over, the support of our community is what makes us or breaks us, and it’s making us, for sure. It’s part of the law that we also hire our own auditors to be the intermediary in that, and so it’s a very complex system, and the county is a part of it too, so all of our paychecks go through the county. But the budget process is very driven by law, and it changes every year after the Legislature.
I’ve got a key financial officer in Brian Moore. He’s brand new, but we implemented something this year called proactive budgeting, and we just put a process in place where we focus on three areas, because we’ve learned that if you don’t keep the balance in these three areas, you’re in trouble.
The first area to balance is staff and teacher salaries. In these times of teacher shortages, you need to be competitive with salaries. We have amazing teachers and staff, and we want to show our appreciation for them. I think our staff knows that we do everything that we can to pay them adequately on this tight budget.
The other things to balance are class size, and that takes money. I mean you have to have the right ratio of teachers to kids. And then the third is programs. So, that’s our greatest strength. When you pool lots of people’s money together – and that’s our forefathers’ idea for public school – you can do lots and lots of things. You’ll see a piece of paper over there on the board, and there are probably 50 things on there.
[Howard points to a bulletin board]. That’s for next year’s budget. I’ve had people come to me and say, “We have got to have these things,” and probably only three things on that list will make it. The most important thing that we can do for kids is put a great teacher in the classroom.
Prescott LIVING: And you lead me to that next question. How do you identify and retain teachers?
Joe Howard: I’ll just get this out of the way – one has to be money. You cannot be at the bottom of the barrel on how much you pay. You’re just simply not going to be able to compete if you do that. So we’ve done a lot to change that. We have a supportive board. We put a new salary schedule together. We could not do this without the community of Prescott, who passed an override to give our teachers a 5.1 percent raise two years ago. We gave them a 2 percent raise this year before the governor’s 1.06 percent raise because we said, “We don’t know if the state’s going to do anything; we have to do something.”
Our teachers know. I think they saw us roll up our sleeves in that bond and override also. They know that administration and the school board and the community are doing everything that they can to support our staff. I think that’s huge in retaining teachers. Now, let’s put our money aside. I think we all know that you need to be happy going to work. You need to create an atmosphere and a culture where people know they’re making a difference for kids and they enjoy who they work for, know that their superiors, their principals and those folks care about them and care about their families. We’ve tried to create that culture.
We realize that you’re a human being and you’ve got a beautiful family, and we want you to go take care of those needs, and we’ll support you in those needs, but then that we’ve got a lot of work to do. So we’ve implemented an anchor instructional model. It’s called, “classroom instruction that works,” and all of our teachers do it, and we train them and we’re constantly training with that. We have less of a recruiting/retaining program than probably any other district I know right now in Arizona.
Prescott LIVING: OK, how is your district different from others in Arizona? What are you doing that’s different and successful?
Joe Howard: Well, one, we live in Prescott. I believe we’ve got a community that really supports what we’re doing. And, we’re this beautiful small town, and I think that hits every aspect of Prescott. Certainly our district, that’s been here for 149 years, is definitely a reflection of the community and what’s great about the community. So, I mean, it starts with that. You’ve just got this quaint feeling about being in Prescott and being part of the school district. The culture that we’re trying to portray is our motto, “Every Child Every Day.” And so I think the most important thing that happened in Prescott Unified School District is that our teachers look at every child and realize that they’re different and they come to us with different needs and challenges, you know – wherever they’re at socioeconomically or wherever they come from. And that’s the beauty of public school. We’ve got lots of different beliefs and different types of people.
Prescott LIVING: Diversity?
Joe Howard: The diversity makes it special. You know, I’ll just throw some things out, like if you ever sit at a Prescott High School Badger football game and watch the sunset over Thumb Butte and everybody in town’s there, it’s that type of feeling.
If we’re 149 years old and we’re still doing the same thing we were doing 100 years ago or 49 years ago, or even five years ago, then we’ve got a problem, because our world is changing so fast.
Something special about PUSD is, even through all these cut years, what I’m most proud of is we maintained our integrity. We continued to have some of the best test scores in the state. And this wasn’t just us, but you know, every time we had a board meeting to talk about cuts, and we talked about cutting the arts, the place was full with people banging their fists saying, “Don’t touch the arts.” And now that was a tough thing, because we said, “Well, what do we touch?” I mean, we’ve got to cut money, and so we found creative ways to do it. But even in some of the hardest times, when we closed those two schools, you know we came out of that and we added to our fine arts. We pushed it down to fifth grade, so that kids could get started even earlier. And if you ever have a chance to go watch the Granite Mountain Band, the kids fill the gym.
And I have to tell you, our families are incredible. I mean, maybe we’re a little bit spoiled. We have incredible children, who come from supportive parents, probably more than most communities. Now that said, I’ll tell you the biggest crisis that we’re seeing right now is social emotional needs. And, it’s not just Prescott.
Prescott LIVING: Bullying, suicide, all those?
Joe Howard: Those types of things. We’re all trying to put our thumb on it. I’m just going to make some guesses here and some observations, but our world is moving so fast right now. I don’t think we have a great handle, as a society, on social media right now, and I think it’s creating some things that we don’t even know are happening. Because I don’t care what school you’re at or what classroom you’re in, we are having kids across the nation, across the state and right here in Prescott who come in with trauma. They’ve lost a parent or they come from a tough situation. So we’re training teachers in stuff that we’ve never trained them in.
Prescott LIVING: How are your graduation rates? How do they compare with the rest of the state? That’s always an issue in Arizona.
Joe Howard: Yes. We’re as good as anyone. We’re at the top of the state with that.
Prescott LIVING: What about dropout? Arizona has a terrible dropout rate.
Joe Howard: Right, and ours is much better than Arizona’s. But that said, you know, Ray, if we have one kid drop out, we feel like we failed. We’ve actually been working with Mayor Oberg a little bit. There’s a mayor’s roundtable that’s focusing on dropout. So, you know, we’ve shared with him to share with the rest of the state some of the things that we do to keep kids in school.
Prescott LIVING: Prescott is a fairly affluent community.Do you have many students here who are eligible for or qualify for state and federal aid?
Joe Howard: We definitely do. I think districtwide, we’re around 39 percent, so that’s probably a surprising number to most people. But we definitely have kids who have great needs, and we have kids who come to us with great risk. Our job is to give them hope.
Prescott LIVING: So, with all you have accomplished and all you hope to still achieve, if funding were not a concern, what would you do?
Joe Howard: Oh my gosh. I don’t even get to think about that.
Prescott LIVING: [Laughs]
Joe Howard: All right [laughs], I’m not ready for that one. No…it’s everything on that list on the wall that supports kids the way you need to support kids.
I’m just going to go over this list for a minute and tell you the things that we would do. We would bolster our career center to where, you know how you walk into Prescott High School and you just feel that college and career is a focus? All these things are manpower issues, and we don’t have enough people to do all of these things that the kids need, but you know, we’ve got a minimum wage issue. $40,000 out of our budget – our directors are paid lower than anyone in the state, and that’s actually part of our focus this year for our budget, and we’re going to take care of that. Mental health is another one. I mean, I’d hire counselors who could be there ready to respond when a kid was in trauma. I’d add more fine arts. The more direct attention that you give a student, the better job we’re going to do at educating. What we want to do is personalize learning, and that’s where the world is heading and different kids have different needs, and different kids have different dreams, and so the more stuff that you can give to that, the more you’re going to help those kids get to those dreams.
Prescott LIVING: I’m going to share an observation with you. I listen to you, and everything you said was people/personnel-related. I didn’t hear a word in there about more buildings. That tells me a great deal about you.
Joe Howard: Well, thanks for saying that. You know, it’s about people. That’s the way that you operate every day. I mean, there’s nothing better we can do for kids than put a good teacher in front of them.
Prescott LIVING: How would you characterize your administrative style? Are you autocratic?
Joe Howard: No, not at all. I would say the opposite of that. I mean we’ve worked hard in the last probably five years to balance leadership. In fact, the professional development that we’ve given to our principals is called Balanced Leadership. It comes from a company called McREL, and it’s something that we worked with Yavapai County Education Service Agency School Superintendent Tim Carter to bring to the Prescott area, so our professional management money allowed us to bring these folks in to do that. It’s preaching exactly what we believe in. What I learned really early on is if you’re creating things from your own ideas over and over again, you’re probably in trouble [laughs].
My style has always been to ask the people in the trenches, “Is this going to work?” We get stuff pushed down to us all the time, but here’s our style and we’ll take that to our teachers ultimately. I mean it, it goes from me to the principals and we go, “How are we going to do this?” And then we brainstorm that, and then we take that model down to the teachers and say, “How are we going to do this?” The people who have to do the work have got to have a say in how that work should be done. I feel that we’ve really turned the corner in that and we’ve seen some success with that, and here’s a great example with curriculum. You know, we haven’t had books for years. We haven’t had money for books for years. Most districts haven’t, and so you have to go online. You know, our teachers were doing a great job of figuring that out kind of by themselves, so we said, “OK, we’re going to use online curriculums.”
Prescott LIVING: What are the biggest challenges you have?
Joe Howard: The obvious is that we’re working on a budget that’s not like the rest of the nation. I went to the national superintendents conference and listened to somebody talk. I heard the person talk about their budget and I was like, “OK, how big are they?” Maybe they’re a little bigger than we are. I looked him up and I did the math, and I find out their budget is two times what we have per the same ratio – double what we have. Then the funny thing is Superintendent of Humboldt Unified School District Dan Streeter was at that conference, too. We’d get together and kind of talk about where we’re gonna go and what we’re gonna learn, and when I checked in with him, he told me the same story in a different break-out, only those folks were from California and they were three times the budget that we are. You asked the question earlier, “What would you do if budget wasn’t an issue?”
You know, I also feel like guys like Dan Streeter and I, if we wanted to, could go to California and say to their board, “Hey, I can do this for you for a third of the price and give you twice the product, you know.”
We’re making it work here in Prescott. We’re making it work, but we can do better. Otherwise the challenges are, how do you stay with the 21st century? These kids coming to kindergarten this year for the first time, none of us know what their job is going to be. So how do you teach them the academic skills that they need? We know how to do that. How do you teach them the problem- solving skills to move and change with the times, and to be problem-solvers, and to be able to solve things that don’t even exist right now? You know, that’s, that’s one of the biggest challenges. This is a community issue and this is a national issue.
Prescott LIVING: What are your biggest disappointments?
Joe Howard: The hardest thing about this job is when we have a student tragedy. It just cuts your heart out, just takes your legs right out from under you. When I think about the hardest times in my job, I’m sitting in this office or I’m sitting over in that other office over there, and we get a phone call and we stand up and we go, “I gotta go.” And we go to that school and deal with staff that had been in car accidents on their way to work. We’ve dealt with a staff member who collapsed in the room and died at the hospital.
But the student tragedies are the worst. You know, having been a part of this district for so long, I either taught the student or was the principal or they’re friends with my kids. I think probably everyone in our community could answer that question the same way.
Prescott LIVING: Yes. OK, Dorothy, if you could click your heels and wave your wand, what change would you make in K-12?
Joe Howard: Hmm…oh, this is fun. I get to think about things I don’t always think about. What would I change in K-12?
Prescott LIVING: Core curriculum?
Joe Howard: Yeah, I would really allow us to personalize education a lot more to really focus on individual student needs. That means, if you’re brilliant, you could be in calculus if you’re in middle school, if you’re ready for it. And, of course, that’s not just academics, but there are also social needs for a kid to be able to handle stuff like that.
But I’d love to put so much flexibility in that every kid could have exactly what he or she needs. We’re trying to do that now, and we’re having some success with that. We’ve really opened up our honors programs, and we’re trying to create pathways for kids to choose different routes with JTED (Joint Technical Education District) and CTE (Career and Technical Education). The opportunities that kids have nowadays, compared to when I was in high school, have expanded so much, as you know.
Prescott LIVING: What about those who would say to you, “Really all you need is a classroom, a desk and a chalkboard.”
Joe Howard: (laughs). The first thing that comes to my mind is this whole, “Every Child Every Day” and “Kids at Hope” piece, which is that a kid has to have his or her needs met before he or she can even learn. So, you’ve got to have some love in there before anything begins to happen. And that may not be for every kid, but on a given day, it doesn’t matter what family a kid comes from. They need that from a teacher. They need the relationship before that happens. So, that’s the first thing I would say.
The other piece, to me, is the world is not that simple – especially with the technology that we have coming down. We have to do a lot more than that. And, especially within the problem-solving piece, we have all these systems to circle kids back and remediate. Well, first of all, to assess and find out if they did or didn’t get it, and then what do we do about it? We don’t just move on, you know, we’re obligated to circle back.
Prescott LIVING: I’m going to shift gears and ask you some sort of, I hope, fun things. Tell me about the pie in the face. [Editor’s note: See top-left photo on this page]
Joe Howard: Oh [Laughs], I think Stephanie Hillig, the high school principal, had put that pie in my face. If you see in that picture, I have my Prescott High Middle School shirt on. Stephanie and I had a lot of fun with rivalry when she was the principal at Granite Mountain Middle School. So we set up a lot of stuff like that, and mostly did those in front of kids at assemblies. She had a little grizzly bear emblem that I stole, in front of the kids, like I ran through and just took off and it didn’t come back until three assemblies later. I had a little scooter that someone donated to us, and I couldn’t give it to a kid or anything for liability so I put on a bike helmet and rode it down the halls and just acted goofy and checked our kids. She came and stole that from me. And that was gone for a long time.
Prescott LIVING: What do you, Jenna and the boys do for fun? You say you go sailing?
Joe Howard: Well, we’re all passionate about music. Now, Jenna and I are not musicians, but we’ve always had great music around, and so now that the boys are older and they have their passions, we love following them and watching them do that. We love to go backpacking. I would say fishing, but I find that I’m the only one fishing, and they all go do something else. They grew up mountain biking with us.
Prescott LIVING: Who has been a major influence on your life? If you had to point to somebody and say, “I’m more than I am, because of you,” who would it be?
Joe Howard: Quite a few people, but definitely my dad. Since I was a little kid, he has been my hero. He’s just a good guy, and probably much more of a natural at all of this than I am. I just grew up and saw his passion and always wanted to be like that. Certainly there have been educators, all throughout my life, who have believed in me, supported me and taught me. Kevin Kapp and Chris Reynolds were guys who believed in my leadership and gave me a chance. Harold Tenney is one of them. [Editor’s note: Tenney was a longtime Prescott administrator] Harold sat me down, like in my second year of teaching, and said, “What are you going to do for your master’s degree?” And I said, “Well, I’m going to get an English master’s, because I’m going to be a writer.” He said, “No, you’re not.” [Laughs] I go, “What do you mean? You can’t tell me.”
He said, “You’re going to be an administrator.” And I go, “Why do you say that?” And he goes, “You got it. You already got it.” I think I’d been teaching three years and he pulled me into his office and said, “What do you think about applying for the assistant principal that’s out there?” And I go, “I’m not ready for that.” And he said, “Yes you are” And I said, “Harold, I just started taking classes.” And so, you know I didn’t apply, and they hired someone else. As soon as I walked out of his office, I’m like, “Why would I say that?” But, you know what happened? As soon as he said that to me, I began to see myself as an administrator.
Prescott LIVING: How old were you?
Joe Howard: 27 or 28 and then I started seeing myself as an administrator. Well, here’s a fun thing, too. After I left the crab boat in Alaska and became a teacher, the skipper of the boat called me and said, “You wanna take a trip down the Inside Passage in the boat?” And I’m like, “Yeah, how much, what projects are we gonna be doing?” And he said, “None. This is just for friends and family.”
It was a 138-foot boat, but we could go anywhere we wanted. It wasn’t like a cruise ship. So Jenna and I went to Ketchikan to jump on that boat, and in the airport I grabbed a newspaper. I was making like 22-grand as a teacher and a coach and grabbed a newspaper and took a look at it and it said, “Part-time administrator, part-time teacher on Baranof Island – $90,000.” I’m making $22,000, or whatever, and I said to Jenna, “I’m going back and enrolling at Northern Arizona University, because if there are opportunities like this, I want to have a chance to take them.”
What happened the next year is the assistant principal had left and Harold said, “Now you’re ready?” And I said, “Yes, sir. Let’s do it.” So, that was that.
Prescott LIVING: When they make a TV show about Joe Howard, who would you pick to play you?
Joe Howard: [Laughs] Oh gosh. See, I don’t see very many movies, so you guys might have to help me with some.
Prescott LIVING: Brad Pitt?
Joe Howard: He’s too handsome.
Prescott LIVING: Tom Cruise?
Joe Howard: Ah, how about someone who’s dead?
Prescott LIVING: Yeah. [Laughs]
Joe Howard: Robin Williams.
Prescott LIVING: Robin Williams?
Joe Howard: Love Robin Williams.
Prescott LIVING: Why?
Joe Howard: I think about him in “The Fisher King” and it’s just, he just has a way with people. You know, and we’re both stocky. [Laughs]
Prescott LIVING: Any final comments you’d like to share that you want the readers to know about you, the schools and how you feel?
Joe Howard: Well, I said this a lot throughout the interview, but I think what I wake up thinking most days is what a great community I live in. Public schools are nothing without a community that supports them. Without community partners – and we have so many community partners, so many generous groups and clubs and organizations in this town that support what we do – by no means are we doing this alone.
Prescott LIVING: And that tells me a lot about the community.
Joe Howard: Yeah and those are our parents and community members who said, “Well, we’re going to take this into our hands…if the state’s not going to fund, we’re going to fund.”
Prescott LIVING: And they did it.
Joe Howard: We’re going to do it. The PUSD Education Foundation raised $170,000 in its first two years. It’s now in its third year. They have given this back to our schools in many ways. This is one of the things I am most proud of being a part of. It is so refreshing to have a hard-working group of people who are in it to make a quick and direct difference for the kids of PUSD.
History Highlights: Education in Prescott
- Education begins in Prescott in 1864 – the same year the town was formed.
- The first recorded teaching was done by Catherine Lieb out of her home.
- The first school was established in 1865 and was taught by Fannie Cave Stevens. The school was private and charged a fee, but no students were turned away.
- Prescott Unified School District is the first School District established in the State of Arizona.
- The first public school in Northern Arizona was a hand-hewn log building located on South Granite and Carleton streets.
- It was built in 1864 and was in use until 1876.
- A replica of the schoolhouse is located on the Sharlot Hall Museum grounds.
- In 1876 after the fire that destroyed the first schoolhouse, a new larger school was built on the corner of Alarcon and East Gurley streets.
- It was in operation until 1903 when Washington School was built. (Washington School will be the home of the district office later this year.)
Source: “Education in Prescott” from Sharlot Hall Museum