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Grape CreekIndependent School District

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Our History

Grape Creek ISD - Historical Information

In 1999, people who attended classes in the Grape Creek Independent School District from 1900 through 1959 came together at the new high school for a big reunion. Through the sharing of memories, pictures and life stories, information for the history of the district was gathered and developed into a timeline. The timeline has been combined with material accumulated by past journalism classes and the district librarian to compile as accurate an accounting as possible. Some dates may not be exact, but when possible, they were taken from written records.  This will be an ongoing project with information added as it is found.  Anyone with information or corrections to this history, please contact the district librarian at the high school.

Timeline—Important Dates and Enrollment Figures

1861    First mention of a school was a notice in the San Angelo Standard stating the need for a teacher.  The first school was located at the base of Mt. Nebo and was called Mt. Nebo School.

1875    Sept. 27, 1875--The court divided the county into school districts and appointed trustees for each district.  Precincts 1 and 5 were to constitute District #1 and Precincts 2,3, & 4 were to constitute District #2. Grape Creek was District #2.  County Judge F. C. Taylor was also County School Superintendent.  Trustees and examiners for District #2 were R. F. Tankersley, H. G. Lightner and J. G. Preusser.

1890    Land deeded for school.

1898    The second school was located on Grape Creek Road near the cemetery and "Grape Creek".   The community and the school had acquired the name of the small creek which flowed through the area.  Around 1900, the school was moved to the "Barber Place."  Not much is known about that period

1908    W. L. Hughes became the first County Superintendent after the position was separated from County Judge.

1909    The school was moved to the corner of what is now Wren Road and Grape Creek Road.   (Older folks say this was a corner of the "Groff Place").

1912    Collins Ranch deeded land to County Judge.  E. M. Davis became County Superintendent.

1920    Enrollment in Grape Creek School reached 18 students.

1923    Wooden school building burned and school was held in the church while the "Red Brick Building" was being built.

1924    "Red Brick Building" was built and put into use.  This building was torn down in the 1980s.


"Red Brick Building"


"Rock Building"

These two pictures are  from the collection of Eunice Holsenbeck.

Mrs. Coulter's Class, 1927


(Preceding class photos courtesy of Mrs. Inez Groff, former Grape Creek School Teacher.)


1927-28     Mrs. Coulter's class in the Grape Creek School building. Note the wood stove in back of room. This picture is from the George W. Groff collection.

1935-37     "Rock Building" built by WPA. This building was used by the school for a cafeteria and community meeting place. Mr. S.T. Allen was principal during this time. During the 1930s, Grape Creek classes went through Grade 10. Students during this era attained high school diplomas by graduating Grade 10. The school eventually became a K-8 district with high school students transferring to other districts and continuing through grade 12.

1948-50     Pulliam School consolidated with Grape Creek School. The consolidation was necessary for Pulliam because their school was located where the O.C. Fisher Dam was to be built.

1961     Red Creek (Quail Valley) consolidated with Grape Creek and Veribest districts.

1962     Enrollment grew to 71 students, partially due to the consolidation.

1963     Land was purchased (from the Poss family) and the building that is now the middle school was built. The county school board at the time included President Buford L. Dulin, Secretary J. B. Scoggin, Members R. L. Baker, William Burrell, Venoy Michaels, Henry Raburn and J. P. Williams.

1964     Enrollment--126 Students

1965     Enrollment--136 Students

1970     Until this year, Grape Creek had been a county school governed by the County School Board and a County Superintendent was chief administrator.

1971     Grape Creek became an Independent School District and named its first resident superintendent. Dan C. Grounds, who joined the district in 1968, was the first Superintendent of the Grape Creek-Pulliam Independent School District. Grounds had been a teacher, coach, and, finally, principal in the district before becoming the superintendent. Enrollment grew to 220 students. Kitchen and cafeteria areas were added to the building.

1972     The gymnasium was added to the south end of the building.

1973     A portable building was placed behind the gymnasium for extra space and resource classes.

1974     The first of two elementary wings was built on the south side. Enrollment grew to 305.

1981     The second elementary wing was built on the south side. Enrollment grew to 551.

1984     One extra room was built onto each of the elementary wings.

1985     Four portable buildings were added behind the elementary area. Enrollment grew to 614.

1987     Construction of a Grape Creek Sports Complex was begun on part of the land where the high school now stands. A stadium, track and field house were included in the plans.

1988     Three more portable buildings were added behind the building.

1990     Enrollment grew to 678.

1991     A portable building to house administrative offices was added, along with a "Functional Living" building and a classroom for "Early Childhood". Dan Grounds resigned in October and David Clegg became the interim superintendent before the district hired Dr. Billy Howell as the second superintendent in the history of the school. Dr. Howell came to the district from Amarillo River Road.

1992     Dr. Billy Howell assumed duties as superintendent and tackled problems with accreditation, the building of the sports complex, and the possibility of passing a bond to build a high school.

1993     Enrollment reached 693. The district attempted to pass a bond election to build a high school/middle school on the same land where the sports complex was built. The bond election was defeated. There was strong opposition to the building of a high school, but many voiced a willingness to build just a junior high building on that site. The problem with that scenario was that the financial basis for the plan was retaining money that the district was currently spending in tuition for sending Grape Creek secondary students to other area high schools and receiving state attendance money for those students. There would have been no monetary gain by building just a junior high school.

1994     Dr. Howell resigned to become superintendent of Shallowater ISD and GCISD began a search for a new superintendent.

1994     June 1, 1994, Dr. David Goodman was named as the third superintendent of GCISD. He came to Grape Creek from Midlothian ISD where he had been a successful high school principal. Working with the board of trustees on the long-term plans for the district, Dr. Goodman began researching methods for building a high school without the need for a bond election.

1995     Administrative offices were moved from the portable building behind the elementary school to its current location in the Bank of America building at 8207 US Hwy 87N. Work was begun on plans and financial options for building a high school and keeping Grape Creek secondary students in the district.

1996     Three portable buildings (6 classrooms) were placed on the land where the old red brick building had stood. These rooms were used to house the freshman class of the proposed new high school. The plans were underway to keep Grape Creek high school students and phase in the high school classes one year at a time. The first graduating class would be the class of 2000.

1997     August 11, 1997, the ribbon was cut at the new high school building and students registered for the first day of classes in the new facility. Enrollment for the K-10 student body reached 934.


New High School, 1997

1998     October 30, 1998, Dr. David Goodman announced his resignation to accept the superintendent position at Andrews ISD. Mr. Charlie Uselton became interim superintendent effective Jan. 1, 1999 to guide the district through the end of the school year and to assist in the search for a new superintendent.

1999     March 2, 1999, Don L. Ickles was named new superintendent of GCISD effective May 1, 1999. Mr. Ickles came to the district from Region XV Education Service Center where he had been Education Specialist. He had worked with all districts in the region in the training of superintendents and school board members, as well as in-service training for teachers.

2000     May 25, 2000 the first class graduated from Grape Creek High School. Grape Creek graduated 68 seniors. The district launched another attempt to pass a bond election to refinance the high school and make needed repairs to the other buildings.

2000     June 3, 2000--Although it meant an increase in property taxes, the community passed the bond election in a strong show of support for maintaining an independent school district. If the bond had not passed, the district would have sought consolidation with another district.

2001     Grape Creek graduated 63 seniors.

2002     Grape Creek graduated 65 seniors.

2003     Don Ickles announced his resignation as Superintendent to become the superintendent at Lorena ISD. Olivia del Hierro was appointed to serve as interim superintendent.

2003     July 8, 2003, Frank Walter became the new Superintendent of GCISD. He came to Grape Creek from Leakey, where he had been superintendent since 1997. Grape Creek graduated 51 seniors.

2004     Grape Creek graduated 99 seniors.

2005     On January 4, 2005, members of the Grape Creek ISD Board of Trustees, administration, faculty and student body were joined by the district’s community members, architects and engineers for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Middle School Expansion Project. After years of careful planning and stacks of proposed blueprints, the middle school expansion project was finally becoming a reality. The $1.44 million project began with the organization of a Citizens’ Committee in 2000. Committee members conducted local studies and interviews, gathered input from the community and studied various options to address the district’s overcrowding problem. The result was a Facilities Improvement Plan that served as the basis for the Middle School Expansion phase, which included construction of a new band hall, six classrooms, a science lab, two computer labs, two dressing rooms and a library.


2005     Grape Creek graduated 76 seniors.

2006     The construction phase of the Middle School Expansion Project was completed and approved by the board on January 23, 2006. It adds 20,000 square feet of instructional space to the middle school. As part of the project, the existing band hall was joined with the existing cafeteria to expand the cafeteria’s seating capacity. Also, the Elementary and Middle School libraries were combined in a beautiful new facility, forming a collaborative K-8 library.

2007  Grape Creek graduated

2008  Grape Creek ISD honored long-time librarian and teacher, Katy Franklin, by naming the middle school and elementary libraries the Katy Franklin Media Center.  Grape Creek graduated 76 seniors.

2009  Grape Creek graduated 63 seniors.

2010  Grape Creek graduated 83 seniors.  Frank Walter resigns as Superintendent of Schools.

2011  Grape Creek ISD hires David Hale as Superintendent of Schools. Mr. Hale came to the district from Roby where he served as superintendent.

 2012 Grape Creek High School cuts the ribbon on a half-million dollar science lab and lecture building purchased with grant funding.

2015 - Mr. Hale resigns as Superintendent.   Barbie McMath hired as Superintendent.

2016 - Barbie McMath resigns as Superintendent.  Angie Smetana hired as Superintendent.

2018 - A $10,750,000 Bond for a new Middle School passes with a vote of 216 FOR/136 AGAINST

2018 - New Boys' and Girls' Field Houses constructed at the HS Football Field

2018 - October 26 - Groundbreaking on New Middle School Building

2019 - October 31 - Ribbon-cutting on New Grape Creek Middle School Building

2019 - November - Elementary portable classrooms removed to prepare for renovations