Denby High School

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Edwin Denby High School
Denby High School Detroit MI.jpg
12800 Kelly Road
Detroit, Michigan
United States
Coordinates 42°25′33″N 82°57′31″W / 42.4257°N 82.9587°W / 42.4257; -82.9587Coordinates: 42°25′33″N 82°57′31″W / 42.4257°N 82.9587°W / 42.4257; -82.9587
Type Public secondary
Opened 1930
School district Education Achievement Authority
Principal Tanisha Manningham
Teaching staff 19.0 (FTE)
Grades 9-12
Enrollment 725 (2013-2014)
Student to teacher ratio 38.16
Color(s) Michigan Blue and Gold
Newspaper The Denby Beacon
Denby High School
Built 1930
Architect Smith, Hinchman & Grylls
Architectural style Art Deco
NRHP Reference # 04001581[2]
Added to NRHP February 02, 2005

The Edwin C. Denby High School is a public secondary education school located at 12800 Kelly Road in northeastern Detroit, Michigan. Denby High opened in 1930, and the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[2]


Front Art Deco facade.
Tile relief decorative element at exterior portal.

The school was named for Edwin C. Denby, an attorney and former Michigan legislator. Mr. Denby served as Secretary of the Navy during the administration of Warren G. Harding. Denby was forced to resign his position and narrowly avoided criminal indictment for his role in what came to be known as the Teapot Dome scandal.

The school opened in 1930. At one time it was known for its mathematics department which ranked high in U.S. national rankings. Rochelle Riley of the Detroit Free Press wrote that by 2010 Denby was "known more for its academic decline than" for the said mathematics department.[3]

By 2010 Kenyetta "K.C." Wilbourn-Snapp began her term as principal of Denby. Wilbourn, who was called the "female Joe Clark", was known for carrying a baseball bat which she called the "equalizer", ever since she witnessed the beating death of a student at Finney High School on April 12, 2007 while serving as that school's assistant principal.[3] In 2016, Wilbourn-Snapp pleaded guilty to felony charges of bribery conspiracy and tax evasion for her role in a kickback scheme during her time at Denby.[4]

In 2011, the school completed an $16.5 Million renovation to restore the 1930s auditorium and construct new student meeting areas.[5] The same year, Denby was transferred from Detroit Public School System to the Education Achievement Authority. There was subsequently significant turnover of department heads and school leadership, which cycled through 3 principals between 2012-2015.

The principal of Denby is currently[when?] Tanisha Manningham.[6]

Rock & Roll and Denby High[edit]

During the late 1950s, Detroit radio personality Bud Davies originated a series of Friday night sock hops from Denby. Before long, the wildly successful dance parties spread to several metropolitan Detroit schools. Featuring records but no live bands, the hops became more popular than regular dances.


The demographic breakdown of the 725 students enrolled for the 2013-2014 school year was as follows:[1]

  • Male – 50.0%
  • Female – 50.0%
  • Native American/Alaskan – 0.0%
  • Asian/Pacific islander – 0.2%
  • Black – 99.2%
  • Hispanic – 0.0%
  • White – 0.6%

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Search for Public Schools - School Detail for Denby High School". Retrieved 3 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Staff (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  3. ^ a b c d Riley, Rochelle. "With a bat and determination, principal is turning Denby around" (Archive). Detroit Free Press. April 19, 2010. Retrieved on January 21, 2016.
  4. ^ Chambers, Jennifer (February 4, 2016). "Ex-Detroit principal pleads guilty to felony charges". The Detroit News. Retrieved 28 May 2016. 
  5. ^ About
  6. ^ "Denby High School". Education Achievement Authority. Education Achievement Authority (EAA). 
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Roger Young". Olympics at Retrieved 3 June 2015. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Hadley, Mari. "A principal, a baseball bat ? and questions." Detroit Free Press. June 1, 2010.

External links[edit]