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Charlotte County Public Schools History

Our History

From the beginning, settlers in Southwest Florida recognized a need for education. Young men and women motivated to educate the community's children took on the role of teaching children in town halls and churches. As the community grew, so did our history. The following table oultines the district's growth over the last 120 years.

1888 Classes outgrow the community hall and the first building is designated as a school at the corner of Marion & Harvey Streets in Punta Gorda.

1896A larger school is built on Goldstein Street. The school was filled to capacity with an enrollment of 91 males and 87 females.

1893The first school for African Americans is formed. After an organized search, Benjamin Joshua Baker agrees to be its principal and relocates from New Orleans. Mr. Baker retired in 1940 after 49 years of teaching and died in 1942 while a new school for the African American Community (Baker Center) was constructed. The school remained segregated until 1964 when Charlotte County Schools were integrated.

1907Punta Gorda Grammar & High School opens with an enrollment of 150 students. Overcrowding forced construction of a new school on Taylor Street in 1911.

1921Charlotte County's modern era begins when DeSoto County is divided into 5 parts. The first bridge across Charlotte Harbor is constructed and schools begin bussing students from rural communities to the Junior High in Port Charlotte and combined schools in Punta Gorda. Six busses operated on a budget of $30.00 per semester, per student.

1926Bussing increased Punta Gorda enrollment to 1,000 and forced construction of Charlotte High School. Charlotte County teacher salaries were reported as the highest in the State of Florida at $615.00 for teachers in a two room school to $933.00 in schools with 10 or more rooms.

As the Great Depression made its way into Charlotte County, the school year was reduced to 7 months and teachers often received promissory notes for items like food and clothing from local merchants rather than a paycheck.

1937Sallie Jones, one of the original 21 teachers assigned to Charlotte High School, is appointed the first female superintendent of schools in the State of Florida. Ms. Jones served 16 years as superintendent. She created the first school lunchrooms and set the standard that all teachers had to be professionally certified. Ms. Jones retired in 1953 after 31 years as an educator.

1950Two large residential developers (General Development Corporation and Punta Gorda Isles Development Corporation) spur Southwest Florida growth and force the expansion of the district. New schools are built in rapid succession as can be seen below.

1960 Adult & Community Education
1961Peace River Elementary School
1962Charlotte High School, K-9
1962Lemon Bay High School
1964East Elementary School
1964-1966Baker Elementary Center
1970Neil Armstrong Elementary
1971Port Charlotte Middle School
1971Punta Gorda Middle School
1975Meadow Park Elementary
1980Charlotte Harbor Center
1980Charlotte Vocational Center
1982Charlotte High School, 10 & 12 Grades
1982Port Charlotte High School
1984L.A. Ainger Middle School
1986Liberty Elementary School
1986Vineland Elementary School
1989Murdock Middle School
1990Deep Creek Elementary School
1990Myakka River Elementary
1998Kingsway Elementary School
1999The Academy
2003Sallie Jones Elementary School


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