Eugene Clyde Brooks: Educator and Public Servant

Eugene Clyde Brooks: Educator and Public Servant

Eugene Clyde Brooks: Educator and Public Servant

Eugene Clyde Brooks: Educator and Public Servant

Excerpt

Eugene Clyde Brooks was once described as a Southerner with "a deep sense of social and human values" who was "trying to build before it is too late." The justification for such a description lay in his intimate association with various reform movements during the first three decades of the twentieth century. Although Brooks rendered valuable services to many causes, his chief contributions were in the field of education. He was, in fact, a decisive figure in the educational advancement of his native North Carolina during a period that was probably the most significant in the educational history of the state. Between 1898 and 1934 he occupied almost every position on the educational ladder, and a striking feature of his career was the success that he achieved in each capacity. At one time or another during this period he was a teacher, principal, superintendent of city schools, clerk in the State Department of Public Instruction, professor of education in Trinity College, State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and president of North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering. He edited a teachers' magazine for seventeen years, published seven books that won him a reputation as a versatile author, and figured prominently in several educational organizations of national and regional importance. He also directed the campaign for better schools initiated in 1902 by Governor Charles B. Aycock which was probably the most extraordinary educational movement in the history of the state. For the next seventeen years Brooks made numerous contributions to education, particularly through his efforts to improve teacher qualifications and school standards. As a professor in Trinity College he gave the institution a pre-eminence in North Carolina in teacher training. He not only inspired a generation of school men in his regular college classes, but established the first extension course for teachers in service in the state.

In 1919 Brooks became State Superintendent of Public Instruction in North Carolina. His comprehensive reorganization of public education in the state attracted national attention. The outstanding features of his program included the establishment of a uniform teacher certification plan and salary schedule, a sweeping change in the method of financing public schools, a remarkable improvement in the quality of the teaching . . .

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