William Torrey Harris, Superintendent
"The great purpose of school can be realized better in dark, airless, ugly places ... It is to master the physical self, to transcend the beauty of nature. School should develop the power to withdraw from the external world."
William Torrey Harris
William Harris was superintendent of schools in Missouri from 1868 to 1880, and during his time he made many radical changes that are still there today. After establishing the first permanent kindergarten in 1873, he went on to expand the other end of education by making high school an essential institution to the individual. High schools would now also include music, art, scientific studies and every high school was required to have a library. As he expanded the public school curriculum, his schools became considered the best in the country. For students who had difficulty learning English, he helped fund the Simplified Spelling Board which made the language easier to learn. He would later on become the United States Commissioner of Education and continue these ideas in schools across the country.