History of A.S. Staley High School
by Alan Anderson


    With the announcement in July 1935 of federal funding of a
new "negro high school" on the site of the old Americus Institute
construction was soon begun and A.S. Staley High School opened to
students in October 1936, even before the building was completely
finished!  Named in honor of the Rev. Alfred Samuel Staley, state
Baptist leader and preeminent local educator, he had been the 
long-time principal of Americus' only public school for blacks,
McCay Hill School.  A.S. Staley High was a 12-room structure "of
aeroplane design" with an auditorium, library and principal's of-
fice, the latter occupied by E.J. Granberry from 1936 to 1940,
when he became president of what is now Albany State University.
John Mitchell, recreation director, dedicated the school's play-
ground in February 1937.  Mayor Thomas L. Bell and Superintendent
J.E. Mathis presided at the dedicatory exercises of A.S. Staley
High School on June 4,1937.
    In March 1940, A.S. Staley High School was selected by the
John D. Rockefeller General Education Board as one of 13 black
schools in the segregated South, the only one in Georgia, for an
experimental program in vocational education.  The school's cur-
riculum was expanded into the fine arts with the addition of a
music program by principal Daniel T. Grant in the late 1940's.
Within a year of implementation the A.S. Staley band was winning 
state competitions.  Mr. Grant wrote a book in 1956 about his 
tenure at A.S. Staley entitled When the Melon is Ripe.
    With the construction of a new "colored high school" in 1957
and the loss to it of principal James L. Bozeman, A.S. Staley be-
came a junior high school for the next ten years under Daniel L.
DeLoatch.  It briefly returned to high school status for three
years when Kelsie W. Daniels replaced Mr. DeLoatch, but reverted
to a junior high school again with the arrival of racial integra-
tion in 1970.
    After becoming a middle school in 1984, A.S. Staley was 
thrice certified as a Georgia School of Excellence (1986, 1990, 
1994) and once, in 1990, as a National School of Excellence, 
first under R. Lamar Sawyer and subsequently Clyde A. McGrady, 
principals.  Mr. McGrady has twice been honored, as one of ten 
outstanding educators in Georgia, with a $25,000 Milken Fund 
award, in May 1990 and chosen Middle School Principal of the Year 
by the Georgia Association of Education Leaders in June 1994.