The land for Robert S. Hyer Elementary was purchased in the early 1930s and included seven and one-half acres bounded by Caruth Boulevard, Colgate Avenue, Pickwick Lane and a creek where Tulane Boulevard is today. Construction was originally slated to begin in 1941, but the steel shortage during World War II delayed its start. Construction on the sixth school to be built by Highland Park ISD began in 1947. The original building, designed by noted architect Mark Lemmon, cost $408,000 to construct. Hyer Elementary opened on January 24, 1949. On that first day of school, 250 students and their teachers walked all the way from University Park Elementary on Lovers Lane 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 for making 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 Elementary 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, Mr. 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 as 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 five years. Mr. Jeremy Gilbert became Hyer's next principal and served for ten years. Jeremy Gilbert is currently the principal at Highland Park Middle School. In 2018, Ms. Debbie Burt was selected as Hyer s seventh principal.
Today Hyer has nearly 700 students in grades Pre-K through 4th grade. For the 2018-19 school year, Hyer was temporarily relocated to Highland Park ISD s newest elementary school on Durham Street. During this school year, Bradfield Elementary students attended Hyer s original location on Caruth while their school was re-built. Hyer will remain on Durham for the 2019-20 school year while Hyer is re-built. In 2020-21, Hyer Elementary will return home to the new campus on Caruth where Huskies will continue to make history.