The Kinkaid School

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The Kinkaid School
Kinkaid School Seal.png
Lux per Scientiam
(Light through Knowledge)
Piney Point Village, Texas
United States
Coordinates 29°45′06″N 95°30′42″W / 29.751529°N 95.511720°W / 29.751529; -95.511720Coordinates: 29°45′06″N 95°30′42″W / 29.751529°N 95.511720°W / 29.751529; -95.511720
Type Independent
Religious affiliation(s) None
Established 1906
Headmaster Andrew D. Martire
Faculty 160 Men and Women
Enrollment 1,400
Average class size 12 (Upper School)
Student to teacher ratio 1:18
Campus Urban
Color(s) Purple and gold          
Athletics Male and Female Varsity and Junior Varsity: Southwest Preparatory Conference
Athletics conference Southwest Preparatory Conference
Mascot Falcon

The Kinkaid School is a PK-12 non-sectarian school in Piney Point Village, Texas, United States in Greater Houston.

The Kinkaid School is the oldest independent coeducational school in Greater Houston. The student body is divided into the Lower School (PreK - 4th Grade), the Middle School (5th grade - 8th grade) and the Upper School (9th grade - 12th grade). The school motto is: "Lux per Scientiam" meaning, "Light through Knowledge." The School colors are purple and gold, and the school mascot is the falcon.

The current headmaster is Andrew D. Martire who succeeded Donald C. North on July 1, 2013. The current chairman of the Board of Trustees is Walter G. Mayfield.

A feature of Kinkaid's Upper School is its Interim Term, which provides three weeks in January for teacher-designed and student-selected curricula. Teachers at the School provide classes that they would otherwise not be able to teach as part of the normal semester, including military histories of the Civil War and World War II, introductory courses in digital programming and engineering, courses in photography and art history, and, famously, a course in Disney films. Students may also go on international trips sponsored by the school, such as tours of China, Italy and Greece; homestays in Mexico and France are also possibilities. Finally, the School provides connections with companies throughout the greater Houston area and, if the students prefer, throughout the world, in which its senior students may find internships.


Kinkaid sports teams compete in the Southwest Preparatory Conference of the Independent Schools Association in the Southwest.[1] A big alumni event is the Kinkaid vs. St. John's School football game played each year at Rice Stadium, with the winning record belonging to Kinkaid. Kinkaid offers multiple sports per each sports season (fall, winter and spring). In the fall they offer football (boys only), cross country, volleyball, cheerleading and field hockey (girls only). In the winter they offer soccer, basketball, wrestling (boys only) and swimming. In the spring they offer lacrosse, baseball (boys only), softball (girls only), track & field, tennis and golf.


The School was founded in 1906 by Margaret Hunter Kinkaid. When the school was first established, it was located in the dining room of Kinkaid's House, which was located at the intersection of Elgin and San Jacinto in what is now Midtown Houston. Tuition at the school ranged from $90.00 per year for first and second grades to $130.00 per year for sixth graders. Tuition is now $14,740 for PreKindergarten and Kindergarten, $15,790 for Grades 1 through 4, $18,270 for Grades 5 through 8, and $19,740 for Grades 9 through 12. Books, lunch and a one-time $1000 new student fee are not included.[2] Kinkaid's current school song, Kinkaid, My Own Kinkaid, was written by Charlotte Williams Darby and Elizabeth Law, sixth grade Kinkaid students, and was adopted by Mrs. Kinkaid for the school in 1921. It is set to the melody of O Tannenbaum.

The Richmond Campus[edit]

The School's second location was at the intersection of Richmond and Graustark in the Neartown neighborhood. The School moved to this location in the fall of 1924. The School had its first Open House that year to celebrate the new facility. This tradition continues today. Kinkaid also added its upper school program beginning in the late 1920s. However, after more than thirty years, the school eventually outgrew its campus and was forced to look for a new location. After considering locations in Afton Oaks and other areas, it was eventually decided that a parcel of land in Piney Point Village would be purchased. When the School moved, most of the buildings that Kinkaid had built on the Richmond campus were torn down by the new tenants. Some of the old Kinkaid buildings remained for many years, but all had been torn down by 2005.

Piney Point Village Campus[edit]

The Kinkaid School

Since 1957 and through the present day, the school has been situated on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) site in the city of Piney Point Village, an enclave of Houston, at the junction of 201 Kinkaid School Drive and San Felipe. Kinkaid introduced uniforms for its lower and middle school students beginning in the early 1960s. Upper school students have never been required to wear uniforms. Beginning in 1970, Kinkaid adopted what was known as an "open enrollment" policy.

Beginning in the early 1990s, the campus began a large construction program in an effort to modernize its facilities, which had not been truly updated since they were initially constructed in the 1950s. A brand new lower school building was constructed, and the old building was torn down, along with the "little" gym and lower school art and science buildings. A new middle school building was also constructed, and the existing upper school was expanded into the old middle school building. Further, a new auditorium and cafeteria were built, and the remaining campus buildings were renovated.[3]

In addition to the physical changes on campus, the fifth grade was moved from lower school to middle school.[3]

In 2011 the school purchased a 25-acre tract adjacent to the current campus to allow for future growth.

Current and prior headmasters[edit]

The School has had five headmasters in its history.[3]

Margaret Hunter Kinkaid, the School's founder, served as the first headmistress.[3] She was a public school teacher before she founded The Kinkaid School. Mrs. Kinkaid left the public school system when she discovered that married women were not welcome as public school teachers in her school district. She was pivotal in the early growth of Kinkaid, and the move to the school's Richmond campus. Mrs. Kinkaid was the headmistress of the School from its founding until 1951. Her son William W. Kinkaid was principal of the high school. In 1951 both she and her son retired from their duties at Kinkaid. Sadly, Mrs. Kinkaid could not enjoy years of retirement. In the autumn she suffered a bad auto accident. She was in a coma for over a month and died December 20, 1951. She is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, near other family members.

Mrs. Kinkaid was succeeded by John H. Cooper, who stayed with the school for over two decades.[3] One of his innovations was to have annual productions of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, starting with H. M. S. Pinafore. It was Mr. Cooper who helped move the campus from its Richmond location to the current Memorial site. In his later years, he was the co-founder and namesake of The John Cooper School in Woodlands in 1979 when Cooper retired.[3] The next headmaster was Glenn Ballard, who oversaw much of the School's renovation and expansion beginning in the early 1990s, along with handling much of the fundraising for the project. Mr. Ballard retired in 1996. Donald C. North replaced Mr. Ballard as headmaster in 1996.

With Don North as its head, Kinkaid had a dedicated leader who has a vision for the School based on his commitment to move the School forward while heeding the traditions of the three wise and caring individuals who preceded him. Donald C. North retired in 2013 after 17 years of being headmaster.[3]

Upon the retirement of Mr. North, Andrew D. Martire was appointed Kinkaid’s fifth Headmaster. A graduate of Princeton University, Johns Hopkins University and the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Martire came to Kinkaid from Baltimore, Maryland, where he was Head Master at the Calvert School.

Prior to the major renovations at the school during the 1990s, the headmaster lived in a house located on the Kinkaid campus. It was decided during the renovations that the headmaster's house should be converted into a place for the various school groups to meet, and that would allow for a dedicated spot for fundraising events and parties to be held. The headmaster's house was relocated to a home just outside Kinkaid.


The 2005-2006 school year was notable as it signified Kinkaid's Centennial Year. This celebration was marked by a number of special events, including an alumni theatrical review, a special reunion weekend surrounding the St. John's game, a Centennial alumni art show, and finally a Centennial Gala.[4]

The Kinkaid School Archives[edit]

The Kinkaid School Archives contain the historical materials of The Kinkaid School including some of the earliest records of founder Margaret H. Kinkaid, as well as yearbooks, scrapbooks, newspapers and photographic materials.

The archives became the repository of the school in 2005 when a committee of school faculty, staff, and volunteers began collecting and organizing the materials. Located in the Moran Library, the archive has since grown to encompass a comprehensive collection of faculty manuscripts, school administrative records, athletics records, architectural plans, early student records, present-day digital records, and some of the earliest class photos. The archives are accessible to the general public.


Special Collections[edit]

The holdings of the archives include:

  • The Margaret Kinkaid Papers
  • The John Cooper Papers
  • The Charles B. Sanders Papers
  • The Kinkaidian (1946 to present)
  • The Kinkaid Kronikle
  • The Kinkaid Falcon
  • Falcon Wings
  • The Kinkaid Magazine
  • Commencement Programs
  • Centennial Materials
  • Athletics Records
  • Rare Books and Special Collections


In 1974 the Texas Monthly stated that Kinkaid and St. John's School were the most difficult to gain admission to and the most academically rigorous private schools in Houston.[6]

School culture[edit]

In 1974 the Texas Monthly stated that at Kinkaid there was significant interest in involving students in "outside community affairs", and it also stated in regards to both Kinkaid and the St. John's School that "there is some feeling among the monied of Houston that old-fashioned discipline is lacking at both these schools."[6] That year, a spokesperson of St. John's stated that compared to St. Johns, Kinkaid was "more modern, free, and innovative."[6]

"The Tipping Point" controversy[edit]

On November 11, 2009, a Kinkaid parent, Hugh "Skip" McGee III, sent an irate letter (entitled "The Tipping Point") to the school's board of directors.[7] In the letter, McGee, Head of the Global Investment Banking Division at Barclays Capital and one of Wall Street's highest paid bankers, attacked the school's administration for altering a previously planned student pep rally. McGee went on to criticize one of the teachers whom he believed to be behind the changes; he also complained that the history teacher had reduced his 11th grade son, John Ed, to tears with a comment about investment banking.[8] The controversy was covered in the March 2011 edition of Texas Monthly.[9] Kinkaid alumnus and former interim-term teacher Robert L. Bradley Jr. also published an essay on the controversy.[10] The intellectual-diversity website, launched by Bradley in August 2012, continues a reform effort that began with "The Tipping Point."[11]

In popular culture[edit]

Philip Roth's novel, Exit Ghost, features a character who is described as having been a valedictorian at Kinkaid, prior to attending Harvard.[12]

In 1998, the movie Rushmore filmed scenes at Kinkaid. St. John's alumnus Wes Anderson used the now demolished Lower School Building for scenes set in an elementary school.[13]

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ "The Kinkaid School: SPC Schools & Mascots". 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g "The Kinkaid School: History". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  4. ^ "The Kinkaid School: Centennial Celebration". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  5. ^ "The Kinkaid School Archives". Retrieved 2012-04-27. 
  6. ^ a b c "Texas Monthly's Guide to Private Schools Part Two." Texas Monthly. Emmis Communications, October 1974. Vol. 2, No. 10. ISSN 0148-7736. Start page 83. Cited: p. 87.
  7. ^ Mike Tolson, Houston Chronicle (2009-12-07). "Kinkaid letter fans flames over political correctness - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  8. ^ Quinn, James (2009-12-02). "Barclays banker Hugh McGee wants son's teacher fired for 'sleazeball' comment". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  9. ^ Spong, John (2011-03-01). "Schoolhouse Rocked". Texas Monthly. Retrieved 2011-12-28. 
  10. ^ Bradley, Robert L., Jr. "Challenging the Left: The Case for Intellectual Diversity," The New Individualist, Summer 2010.
  11. ^ Bradley, Robert L., Jr. "Teach the Children Well: Six Thinkers for a New Generation" Retrieved 2014-08-22.
  12. ^ "[1]." Exit Ghost Review.
  13. ^ Rushmore Filming Locations.

External links[edit]