George S. Willard, Jr., Papers

1942-1987, 1995
Manuscript Collection #543
Willard, George S., Jr., 1914-1995
Physical description
5.21 Cubic Feet, 8,000 items , including memos, correspondence, school board minutes, proceedings, reports, guidelines, court decrees, and clippings.
Preferred Citation
George S. Willard, Jr., Papers (#543), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers (1942-1987, 1995) including correspondence, school board minutes, proceedings, reports, guidelines, court decrees, clippings, publications.

Biographical/historical information

Born November 20, 1914, in Pink Hill, N.C., George Sylvester Willard, Jr., earned a B.A. at East Carolina College in 1937 and a M.Ed. at North Carolina State University in 1942. Willard began his career in Wilson, N.C., schools as a science instructor (1937-1939) and subsequently served as principal of Charles L. Coon and Ralph L. Fike high schools (1945-1959). He assumed the position of superintendent of Wilson City schools in 1959 and continued in that capacity until retirement in 1976. He died December 12, 1995, in Louisburg, N.C.

Scope and arrangement

The collection contains administrative files covering Willard's tenure as superintendent and subject files concerning associations he was affiliated with, topics related to his work, and his eleven-year membership on and chairing (1965-1969) of the State Textbook Commission. Further documentation of his tenure is provided by the memos and minutes of the Wilson City School Board which chronicle the implementation of local, state, and federal education policies at the public school level. Along with the board's records, the collection contains annual audits (1959-1976), which provide a picture of the school system's operating budget, the Board's administrative regulations and policies adopted and codified during Willard's administration, and information about the Teacher Tenure Act and teacher evaluation policies.

A substantial portion of the collection concerns integration of the Wilson school system (1965-1971) which occurred during Willard's tenure. Willard converted the Wilson school system from one that was entirely segregated and reluctant to integrate into one that was substantially desegregated. Correspondence includes letters from Congressman L. H. Fountain and Department of Health, Education and Welfare officials which serve to illustrate the difficulties the Wilson school system encountered while attempting to comply with HEW integration plans. Of particular interest are the correspondence and documents pertaining to HEW administrative proceedings against the Wilson School Board for failure to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Enrollment figures for Wilson schools, court orders and decrees, HEW guidelines, and Wilson School Board integration plans are also included. Correspondence (1967-1969) with East Carolina University professor Dr. Ralph Brimley discusses the possibility of holding integration workshops at ECU for Wilson city school teachers.

The collection contains correspondence and other material concerning federal funding, specifically the Emergency School Assistance Program (1971-1972) and Emergency School Aid Act (1973), which were jeopardized by Wilson's reluctance to integrate its school system.

Correspondence and reports concerning curricula (1942-1972) reflect Willard's desire to enrich courses offered by Wilson schools. Letters between Willard and public education officials concern foreign language, math, and reading. Letters concerning the development of a nursing school and an Industrial Education Center in Wilson (1962-1964) also reveal Willard's interest in occupational education. A 1963-1964 survey of the nursing school at Wilson, conducted by the State Board of Nurse Registration and Nursing Education, gives a good overview of the school's organization.

Of particular interest are the correspondence and other materials pertaining to anti-communist education (1961-1962). Willard penned a text entitled Democracy Faces Communism, and advocated a matching course that conveyed the virtues of democracy and capitalism over the depredations of communism. Correspondence with East Carolina University President Leo W. Jenkins (1975) concerns the development of a book for use in secondary schools comparing life in the U.S. and the Soviet Union.

Willard's administration generated capital improvements in the Wilson City School System as well. Correspondence and reports contained in the collection detail the construction of two elementary schools and additions to three others (1961-1973). Included are bid tabulations, engineering reports, and long-range improvement plans.

Papers concerning public school finance consist of an application for federal assistance to low-income families (1966), and reports, memos and minutes concerning the Governor's Commission on Public School Finance (1977-1979) which attempted to diminish the disparity of funding between school systems. The Wilson School Board's appeal for a supplemental tax is also included (1966).

Willard's correspondence with state senators and representatives concerns educational issues on the General Assembly's agenda (1969-1975). Legislation discussed affected teachersalaries and tenure, class size, employment and dismissal procedures, teacher preparation, certification and licensing, and school budget procedures. Willard's political correspondence also includes letters concerning the Equal Rights Amendment (1982).

Active in educational organizations, Willard corresponded with a number of associations (1954-1976). The collection includes letters and other material pertaining to the North Carolina Association of Educators, Associated Public School Systems, Parent Teacher Association, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and North Carolina High School Athletic Association.

The collection also contains correspondence and other materials (1966-1976) that concern the 1976 consolidation of the Wilson city, Elm City and Wilson County school systems. Willard played a key role in the merger which consolidated all public schools under the jurisdiction of a single board for the first time in the history of public education in Wilson County. A later file of material (1986) further discusses the makeup of the three school boards and the board for the merged system. Willard also served as a consultant during an abortive attempt to unite the Nash County and Rocky Mount school boards. The collection includes correspondence, minutes, and reports (1979-1980) concerning this merger attempt. A subject file containing correspondence (1967-1973) to and from Dr. Ralph Brimley, chairman of the Educational Administration and Supervision Department of ECU's education school, also addresses the school system merger issue.

Willard's contributions to the State Textbook Commission are also documented. The commission which evaluates and selects textbooks for public schools is appointed by the Governor. Willard held the longest tenure on the commission of any North Carolina educator and served as its chairman (1965-1969). The collection includes correspondence concerning the commission (1957, 1965-1970) and the Governor's Study Commission to Evaluate the State Textbook Commission (1974).

In 1976 Willard was appointed to a commission to study the North Carolina community college and technical institute system and examine its role in the total state education picture for the succeeding twenty years. Files concerning this commission contain correspondence, minutes, research material, publications, resolutions, meeting programs, and the March 1977 final report.

Also of considerable significance is the correspondence pertaining to the controversial issue of teacher certification. In 1972-1973, the North Carolina State School Board reduced the importance of the National Teachers' Examination (NTE), a test which many considered culturally biased against blacks, and opted for what many educators considered subjective criteria that favored personality over ability. The collection contains correspondence from State Board of Education Chairman Dallas Herring and Lieutenant Governor James Hunt, Jr.,who opposed the new certification policy, as well as from Superintendent of Public Instruction, Craig Phillips, who favored the new standards.

A subject file (1969-1971) on Jerome H. Melton (assistant superintendent of public instruction) discusses routine education-related topics.

Further correspondence includes letters (1959-1986) from State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Charles Fisher Carroll, and State Board of Education Chairman, Dallas Herring. Included in Herring's correspondence (1968-1986) are letters concerning Herring's support for school superintendent Ben F. Currin who tried unsuccessfully to unseat Craig Phillips in the Democratic primary for the 1976 election for State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Herring's and Willard's positions as advisors for Currin's campaign are reflected in their correspondence and speeches written for Currin.

The collection also contains numerous publications put out by Wilson schools, and the various education-related governing bodies (locally and state).

Administrative information
Custodial History

November 21, 1987, 8 cubic feet; Files (1947-1986) of Wilson, N.C., educator including correspondence, memos, school board minutes, proceedings, reports, guidelines, court decrees, clippings, etc., dealing with the administration of Wilson City Schools, school desegregation, Title VI compliance, Textbook Study Commission activities, school finances, school mergers, and other educational issues. Gift of Mr. George S. Willard, Jr., Wilson, N.C.

Source of acquisition

Gift of Mr. George S. Willard, Jr.

Processing information

Processed by D. Parker; M. Boccaccio, March 1992

Encoded by Apex Data Services

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Container list
Box 1 Wilson City Schools, Administrative Files 1955-1965
Box 2 Wilson City Schools, Administrative Files 1965-1968
Box 3 Wilson City Schools, Administrative Files 1969-1971
Box 4 Wilson City Schools, Administrative Files 1971-1976
Box 5 Wilson City Schools: Memos to Teachers 1961-1971; Superintendent's News Briefs 1971-1976; Audits 1959-1975; Budgets 1972-1976
Box 6 Wilson City Schools: Regulations 1960-1969; School Board Policy 1969; Tenure and Evaluation Policy 1972; Job Descriptions 1973-1974; Personnel and Student Handbooks 1949-1954.Subject Files: Democracy Faces Communism,1962; Seminar on Communism 1961; Communism 1961-1975; Parent Teacher Association 1964-1969
Box 7 Subject Files: Computer Education 1970; Vocational Education 1942; Foreign Language 1960; Kindergarden 1971-1972; Math and Reading 1973-1976; Special Education 1960; Civil Defense Training 1961; Occupational Education 1972; Wilson School of Nursing 1963-1964; Course Description; Secondary Schools 1972; Wells Elementary School Building 1961; Fike High School Building 1963; Adams Elementary School Building 1963; Darden High School Building; Hearnes Elementary School Building; Vinsom-Bynum Elementary School Building 1965-1966; Long Range School Building Improvement Plan 1965; School Tax Referendum 1966; Per Capita Distribution; Emergency School Assistance 1971-1972; Emergency School Aid Act 1973; School Construction 1973; Governor's Commission on Public School Finance 1977-1979
Box 8 Subject Files: Governor's Commission on Public School Finance 1977-1979; Federal Assistance to Low Income Families 1966; State Educational Programs 1975-1976; Public Opinion Poll 1961; Middle Grades 1971-1972; Wilson First Methodist Church Scholarship Committee 1963; Success Education Association 1965; Edward F. Long 1964-1965; Good Neighbor Council 1968; Classroom Focus 1969; Human Relations Division 1970; Wilson Board of Education 1970; Earl C. Funderburk 1974; Wilson Schools Coaches 1971; J. Henry Highsmith 1948-1951; Superintendent's Council 1974; Industrial Education Center 1962-1963; Fike High School 1971-1972; Willard's "History of Public Education in Wilson County 1907-1984"; "School Notes" Typescripts by Willard 1968-1969
Box 9 Subject Files: "School Notes" Clippings, 1968-1969; Clippings, Clairnenette Williams; Marguerite Harrell Court Hearing 1978; Wilson Schools Merger Inquiry 1986; Wilson Schools Publications 1951-1954; Wilson City Schools Survey 1968; Community College Study Commission 1976-1977
Box 10 Subject Files: Expenditures 1964-1974; Southern Association of Colleges and Schools 1954-1971; General Assembly 1969-1976; Equal Rights Amendment 1982; Association of Educators 1971; Public Schools Committee 1954-1956; Associated Public School Systems 1960; School Boards Association 1961-1964
Box 11 Subject Files: North Carolina Education Association 1964; High School Athletic Association 1971-1976; Wilson School Merger 1966-1976; Rocky Mount School Merger 1979-1980; Rocky Mount School Merger Clippings 1979-1981; State Textbook Commission 1957-1965
Box 12 Subject Files: State Textbook Commission 1965-1970,Correspondence and Clippings
Box 13 Subject Files: Governor's Study Commission to Evaluate State Textbook Commission 1974; Integration 1965-1967
Box 14 Subject Files: Integration 1967-1976
Box 15 Subject Files: Integration Briefs 1966,1969-1971; School Enrollment by Race 1965-1974; Integration Printed Material; Integration Court Orders 1966-1967; Integration Clippings. National Teacher Examinations 1960-1968, 1971-1973; Correspondence and Clippings
Box 16 Subject Files: National Teacher Examinations 1972-1973; Printed Material; Charles L. Coon High School History 1986; Ben F. Currin 1974-1976; Currin Campaign for State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1975-1976; Dr. Ralph Brimley 1967-1973; Charles F. Carroll 1959-1986; William Dallas Herring Correspondence 1968-1975
Box 17 Subject Files: William Dallas Herring Correspondence 1975-1986and Printed Material; Jerome H. Melton 1969-1971; East Carolina University 1965-1983; Personal correspondence 1955-1983; Miscellaneous correspondence 1951-1976
Box 18 Clippings 1948-1983; Printed Material; Miscellaneous Speeches and Biographical Material 1954-1978, 1995, undated