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Kashmere Senior High School

Kashmere High School opened in 1957 as a state of the art facility, with a strong academic curriculum and the best teachers. It was initially located on twenty-six acres in Kashmere Gardens on the Eastex Freeway and the North Loop (present-day Kelley St.). Dr Ira Bryant, former principal of Booker T. Washington, was named as Principal. Dr. Bryant was accompanied by two teachers whose names have become synonymous with Kashmere – Louis J. Bailey and Conrad O. Johnson.
The school colors were maroon and white and the school mascot was the ram. The school song was written by Mrs. Claudia Hunter and Mr. Conrad Johnson.

While the school was being built, Kashmere Gardens was a predominately white neighborhood. As blacks moved in, white residents rushed to move out, exhibiting a social phenomenon referred to as “white flight.” District boundaries were redrawn to contain the new "black" community. Thus, Kashmere Junior-Senior High School students were comprised of high school students from Wheatley and Booker T. Washington. The junior high students would have attended E.O. Smith Junior High. The first graduating class was the Class of 1958.

In 1968, construction was completed on a new school located at 6900 Wileyvale in historic Trinity Gardens. It was to be called Francis Scott Key Senior High School. This new school was designed to be an HISD integration prototype with Black, White, and Hispanic students from the surrounding neighborhoods. The teaching staff make-up would be 65% White and 35% Black. However, when the doors opened for fall semester of 1968, only Black students registered. The teaching staff was more like 85% Black and 15% White.

George Haynes (a former Kashmere Assistant Principal) was named the Principal. Kashmere Junior Senior High School was to become Kashmere Junior High School. This transition would have eliminated all of the academic and athletic accomplishments that Kashmere High School had achieved. With fervent protests from the Kashmere P.T.A., the alumni, and the community, the appeal was finally heard by the Houston I.S.D. Board members. The name, Kashmere High School, prevailed. Subsequently, the name was assigned to the new high school at 6900 Wileyvale. The former Kashmere Junior-Senior High School, located at the Eastex Freeway and the North Loop (present-day Kelley St.) became Francis Scott Key Middle School. Since band uniforms had already been ordered in red, white, and blue (the school colors for Francis Scott Key), the decision was made to change the new Kashmere’s colors to red, white, and blue, replacing the original maroon and white. The first graduating class was the Class of 1969.

At the advent of integration, Singleton ratio, and Crossover, federal mandates required that all schools be integrated. The boundaries were redrawn again in 1970, and a number of black students were forced to attend predominately white schools. Many of Kashmere's students were zoned to Sam Houston High School, Jeff Davis, and M.B. Smiley. The infrastructure of Kashmere High School was interrupted again, because many of the best teachers at Kashmere and other predominately black schools were "crossed over," to work at predominately white schools. Many of the administrative officials from Kashmere were also moved to different capacities in the Houston I.S.D. Principals since Mr. Haynes have been Mr. Paul Campbell, Mr. Henry Stevenson, Mr. Otho Gibson, Mr. Raymond Smith (The present-day Kashmere High School Library bears the name of Raymond Smith.), Mr. Lloyd Choice, Mr. David Alexander, Mr. Stanton Lawrence, Mr. David Terrell interim, Mr. Willie Spencer, Dr. Charlotte Parker, Ms. Maleb Caleb, Mr. Paul Harden and presently, Ms. Amber Wilson.

With all of the changes that took place after the advent of integration, Kashmere had still been able to produce many outstanding graduates, receive accolades for its athletic and academic accomplishments, and continued to receive recognition for its world-renowned stage band. Kashmere continued to be the pride of the North side for many years, but is presently struggling to maintain its reputation as a haven of academic excellence. Since 2003, Kashmere has had many problems in its efforts to achieve "Academic Acceptance," on the state TAKS test. Many barriers, including continuous changes in administrative staff, inconsistent instruction in core academic areas, and a lack of monitoring school/instructional systems, have been key in the students' lack of performance.

With the leadership efforts of Kashmere's present principal, Ms. Amber Wilson, dedicated faculty, supportive alumni, PTSA, and determined student body, Kashmere is working toward a goal of "Academic Excellence," and a goal of keeping its doors open another fifty-three years.



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