Herold C. Hunt

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Herold Christian Hunt (February 8, 1902 – October 17, 1976) was a Superintendent of the Chicago Public Schools, bringing it out of an era of political patronage. He was the Charles W. Eliot Professor of Education at Harvard University, an expert in education from the 1930s through the 1970s, President of the American Association of School Administrators, chairman of the American Council on Education, served on the National Board of the Boy Scouts of America, and was awarded the Silver Buffalo in 1963 for his contributions to Scouting.


Hunt was a graduate of the University of Michigan class of 1923. While in college he wrote for the summer Michigan Daily. His love for journalism fostered a desire to understand and participate in every aspect of an operation, which would later affect his work in schools. He then became a high school history teacher and rapidly became a school principal and then superintendent in the Michigan public school system.[1]

Professional accomplishments[edit]

He taught in the Michigan public schools from 1923-1927. He earned his M.A. degree from Teacher's College of Columbia University. He became principal of the St. Johns, Michigan high school for four years. In 1931 he became superintendent of that district, and in 1934 superintendent of the Kalamazoo, Michigan school system.[1] In 1937, at age 32, he became head of the New Rochelle, New York School system. He combined his background as a would-be Episcopalian minister with the "glad-handing techniques of a backwoods Congressman," Hunt began speaking tours, set propaganda bonfires in newspaper articles, addressed civic club meetings—did everything, in short, to arouse public interest and squeeze money from city and state legislatures.[2]

He was Superintendent of the Kansas City, Missouri school system and President of the American Association of School Administrators from 1947-1948. While in Kansas City, he was known to fill in for vacationing Episcopalian ministers at the pulpit. In 1947, he was sought as Superintendent for the New York, San Francisco, and Chicago school systems. Chicago hired him as their first General Superintendent in charge of both operations and education in 1947. While in Chicago, he was credited with cleaning up a system rife with corruption. During the tenure of his predecessor, Superintendent William Johnson, the district was blacklisted by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Three days after the board unanimously confirmed Hunt as its new superintendent, the organization removed Chicago from its blacklist.[3]

When Hunt arrived, "Nonteaching jobs were given out as patronage, and the third floor of the administration building was notorious as a distribution center of political plums." In Chicago, he doubled the school district's budget to $146 million, updated facilities with a $50 million building program, raised faculty salaries almost 50%, and relieved them from kickbacks to ward captains and ringing door bells in every election. Chicago was so anxious to hire Hunt that the offered him US$25,000 a year—US$9,000 more than it has ever paid a superintendent before, and US$7,000 more than it paid its mayor at the time.[3]

He was second vice-president of National Congress of Parents and Teachers from 1948-1951, chair of the American Council on Education from 1948–49, and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Educational Testing Service from 1949-50.

In 1953 he accepted Harvard President Conant's offer to come to Harvard (at half his Chicago salary), to become the Charles W. Eliot professor of Education at the Harvard Graduate School.[4] At the Harvard School of Education, he became the first Chairman of the Administrative Careers Program, which later led to programs in Administration, Planning and Social Policy. From 1955-1957, he served as undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare during the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.[5] He was eager, he said, "to give back to education the lessons learned in the last thirty years."

After he retired from his position as undersecretary of Health, Education and Welfare, he returned to Harvard. In 1958, he was selected as a recipient of the American Education Award. He served as a consultant to the Ford Foundation's program on the use of television in the schools, was a UNESCO delegate to New Delhi, a member of a delegation that visited Russian schools,[2] and served on the board of the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. During his time on the board, he served on a task force invited to take a look at the White Stag Leadership Development Program. He was instrumental in persuading the National Council President Ellsworth H. Augustus to conduct research into the program's potential contributions to adult and youth leadership development.[6] He was cited for his contributions to Scouting and received the highest award given volunteers, the Silver Buffalo, in 1963.[7] He retired from Harvard in 1970.[1]


  • Democracy Needs No Interpretation Education; November 1940, Vol. 61 Issue 3, p129-132, 4p
  • Are the Public Schools Godless? (1952) with Muriel Stanek, in "Public Education Under Criticism" By Cecil W. Scott and Clyde Milton Hill Ayer Publishing, ISBN 0-8369-2520-3, p 142
  • The Practice of School Administration: a Cooperative Professional Enterprise (1958) with Paul R. Pierce. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
  • The School Personnel Administrator (1965) Houghton Mifflin Comp.


  1. ^ a b c Ohles, Frederik and Shirley M. Ohles, John G. Ramsay (1997), Biographical Dictionary of Modern American Educators, Greenwood Publishing Group, ISBN 0-313-29133-0CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ a b Robert Dinerstein (1961-11-18), Have Experience, Will Travel, Faculty Profile
  3. ^ a b Goodbye to Chicago, Time, March 30, 1953, archived from the original on October 26, 2012, retrieved 2008-11-24
  4. ^ Cleanup Man, Time, July 7, 1947, archived from the original on October 26, 2012, retrieved 2008-11-24
  5. ^ Herold Hunt Fellowships 2006/2007 (PDF), retrieved 2008-11-24
  6. ^ Alan Miyamoto; Fran Peterson (1997). "White Stag History Since 1933". Archived from the original on 2008-09-20. Retrieved 2008-09-05.
  7. ^ "2008 Silver Buffalo Awards, Boy Scouts of America". 2008. Archived from the original on 2008-02-26. Retrieved 208-11-24. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)