The history of the Riverside County Office of Education goes back to formation of Riverside County in 1893. In March of that year, California Governor Henry Markham signed legislation that took 7,204 square miles from San Diego and San Bernardino counties to form the new County of Riverside.
San Timoteo Canyon Schoolhouse, built as an adobe building in 1856, is distinguished as the first school in the territory that became Riverside County. The original schoolhouse accommodated 25 to 40 students from grades one to eight and served the pioneer families as well as the temporary students of work crews on the Southern Pacific Railroad.
Well-documented history of Riverside County schools begins with the establishment of the county and consequent appointment of Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Lyman Gregory on May 9, 1893. Gregory’s office in 1893, known as the Office of the Riverside County Superintendent of Schools, was located in the original courthouse on the corner of Eighth and Lime streets in downtown Riverside. During the time of County Superintendent Edward Hyatt (1903), the offices were moved to the new County Courthouse on Main Street. At that time, the superintendency remained an elected position, like the county sheriff and district attorney, but the office was part of county government until it gained financial independence in 1975. In the 1980’s, the organization was renamed the Riverside County Office of Education.
Over the years, as state and federal laws governing public education changed, the duties and responsibilities of county superintendents and their respective offices changed as well. County services have always included curricular, financial and credential responsibilities with the schools in the county, but they began to involve specialized classroom instruction provided directly by county superintendent’s staff. Today, the Riverside County Office of Education provides direct classroom instruction for some students referred by their school districts, the courts or through mutual agreement with their parents/guardians in Special Education, Juvenile Hall, Migrant Education, Community Day School, Cal-SAFE, Head Start, State Preschool, Career Technical Education and Adult Jail settings.
Riverside County Superintendents of Schools
2007-2017: Kenneth M. Young
1999-2007: David L. Long
1987-1999: Dale S. Holmes
1970-1987: Don F. Kenny
1961-1970: Leonard I. Grindstaff
1951-1961: Ray W. Johnson
1926-1951: Ezra E. Smith
1919-1926: Ira C. Landis
1907-1919: Raymond Cree
1895-1907: Edward Hyatt
1893-1895: Lyman Gregory