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Robert S. Hyer Elementary

About Us » Hyer History

Hyer History

Seven and one-half acres of land had been purchased in the early 1930's for the purpose of building Hyer Elementary. The land was bounded by Caruth, Colgate, Pickwick, and a creek on the east where Tulane is today. Construction was originally slated to begin in 1941, but World War II priorities delayed its start. Construction on the sixth school to be built by Highland Park ISD actually began in 1947, but the first classes were not held there until January, 1949. The building, designed by architect Mark Lemmon, cost $408,000. On that first winter day of classes at Hyer, 270 students and their teachers walked all the way from University Park Elementary to attend classes.
Hyer was named in honor of a remarkable man, Dr. Robert Stewart Hyer, a pioneer in education in Texas. He was president of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, from 1898 to 1911. He is best remembered as the man who made Southern Methodist University a reality. He spearheaded its founding and became its first president from 1911 to 1920. Not only did Dr. Hyer supervise the raising of funds for SMU, but he also approved architectural plans for the new buildings, recruited a faculty, developed a curriculum, acquired laboratory equipment, started a library, and even taught physics. He died in 1929, never knowing that a school would be named for him.
The first principal of Hyer was Newton L. Manning, who had been a grocery clerk at University Grocery on Hillcrest when he was a boy. As principal he stole the hearts of all of the Hyer children by bringing chickens, goats, and other animals to school for them to see. Occasionally Mr. Manning would stop by a classroom to ask if anyone wanted to go on a walk with him. The delighted children would head for the door and might be gone with him for an hour. Mr. Manning retired in 1973.
Tom Munroe served as principal until 1982 at which time he became principal at Highland Park High School. Dale Lawrence moved from his position as assistant principal at Highland Park High School to become the new principal at Hyer. In 1985, Hyer’s third principal, Dale Lawrence, became the Director for Administration and Instruction for the Highland Park School District. Dr. Louis Powers, who had been assistant principal at McCulloch Middle School, was chosen to be the new principal of Hyer. In 2002 when Dr. Powers retired, Mr. Greg Smith was named principal at Hyer. He served Hyer and its community for 5 years. To begin the 2008-09 school year, Mr. Jeremy Gilbert was selected as Hyer's principal.
During the 1992-1993 and the 2005 school year, Hyer received the prestigious "Blue Ribbon Award" from the U.S. Department of Education. A new Library-Media center, Computer Lab, Gymnasium, and several classrooms were added to accommodate the 600 children attending Hyer for the 1993-94 school year.
In 1995-96, upon completion of McCulloch Intermediate School, the fifth grade was transferred to the new school.
In 2001, Hyer Elementary received special recognition from the Commissioner of Education, Jim Nelson, for being one of eight schools in Texas to receive an "Exemplary" rating for the nine years of the rating system's existence.
In October 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 Hyer Elementary was also named to the statewide Honor Roll Schools list by Just for the Kids and the Texas Business and Education Coalition for the fourth time for its consistently outstanding performance in educating students.
Mr. Jeremy Gilbert is the current principal.