In 1887 the Texas legislature gave the county commissioners' court in each county the optional privilege of establishing a separate office of county superintendent of schools, and in 1905 authorization was given for the office, after a favorable election initiated by the voters. In 1907 the office became mandatory in all counties with a scholastic population of more than 3,000. The county superintendent was usually elected but, under certain conditions, could be appointed by the county school trustees. The term was originally two years but was changed to four years in 1930. In counties where no superintendent was elected or appointed, or where the office had been abolished, the county judge served as ex officio county superintendent. There were 167 Texas counties with county superintendents in May 1945. The main duties of the superintendent were to serve as secretary and executive officer of the county school trustees, hold teachers' institutes, supervise the common school districts, approve vouchers drawn against the school fund, and distribute textbooks. In 1978 the legislature terminated state financial support for the office of county superintendent, leaving individual counties the option of continuing the office with local funds. Only a few counties chose to continue the office. In most cases the duties of county superintendent of schools was transferred to the local commissioners' court or divided among the school districts.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
Texas Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, Handbook of Governments in Texas (Austin, 1973-).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“County Superintendent of Schools,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 17, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
December 1, 1994