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The Kinkaid School: A History

The Kinkaid School was established in Houston in 1906 by its first teacher and founder Margaret Hunter Kinkaid, who hailed from a well-established Texas family. Her grandfather, Johnson Calhoun Hunter, was one of the “Old 300,” the group of settlers who received land grants in Stephen F. Austin’s first colony in Mexico. Ms. Hunter attended the Clopper Institute in Houston, a school for teachers that promoted “child science” (the predecessor to developmental psychology) and encouraged its teachers to focus on teaching the whole child. After completing her own education, she taught for several years at the Hawthorne School, a public elementary school on Hawthorne Street in Houston. She retired from Hawthorne in 1900, after her marriage to William J. Kinkaid on Christmas Day, 1899, because at that time Houston Public Schools would not employ married women as teachers.

Margaret Kinkaid:

Margaret Kinkaid began to accept students at her house on Elgin and San Felipe as early as 1904. Classes were put on hold with the birth of her son William in 1906, and resumed again in 1908. However, Mrs. Kinkaid claimed 1906 as the year the Kinkaid School was founded, and that is the date that is celebrated today.

The First School House:

By 1910 the school had outgrown the Kinkaid’s one story house, so they added a second floor, seen above. This was only a temporary solution, though, and the Kinkaid School moved to a new campus at Richmond and Graustark in 1924. Over the next twenty years, Mrs. Kinkaid worked diligently to grow and improve the school curriculum, evident in a long-series of correspondence between her and the Texas State Department of Education, in which she sought accreditation as a four-year secondary school and proper college preparatory institution. She was successful and the Upper School was fully accredited by the end of the 1940s.

With a surge in the population and a need for larger modern facilities, it was time for another move. In the summer of 1947, the school embarked on a building project for a new campus as well as expanded athletic facilities.  A location at the corner of Richmond and Graustrark was selected. Alumni of this campus are still highly active in the school community and call themselves the "Richmond Guard." 

The Richmond Campus:

Many changes occurred at the Richmond Campus. After a long and distinguished career as headmaster, Mrs. Kinkaid signified her decision to retire and selected John Cooper as her successor. He was an established educator and school leader, and remained at Kinkaid until 1979. Among his many accomplishments, he lead the campaign for another school campus, which was greatly supported by the families of students at Kinkaid. In the fall of 1957, the school moved to its present day location on a forty acre campus in Piney Point Village:

Construction for a new school, 1957:

From 1979 to 1996, Glen Ballard held the post of headmaster, a time during which student opportunities expanded in academics as well as arts and athletics. The campus witnessed extensive renovations and the addition of a new middle school and gymnasium. 

In the present day, Kinkaid continues to celebrate the legacy of its founder through such popular traditions as Field Day, Culture Fest, Book Fair and many others. The school remains the oldest, independent coeducational day school in Houston and considers itself a 'family' school due to its deep sense of community.  It is continuing in the tradition of Margaret Hunter Kinkaid by providing the highest level of primary and secondary education.