Public School Superintendent +
With the opening of the 1898-99 school year, the Albion Public Schools hired its first “full time” superintendent, William J. McKone, who replaced Warren D. Hull. Hull had resigned to become superintendent at the Flint Public Schools. Born August 23, 1866 in Montezuma, New York and educated there, McKone had come to Michigan in 1884 and graduated from the Normal College at Ypsilanti in 1887. He previously served as superintendent of schools at Morrice,Almont, and Mason.
In addition to his local duties, McKone was active in state educational endeavors. He served on the state board of education from 1905 to 1915, and held the offices oftreasurer and president. McKone also conducted teachers institutes in all parts of Michigan, was president of the County Teachers’ association, and secretary of the City Superintendents’ Association and the State Teachers’ Association. In 1904 he authored the popular book Michigan State and Local Government, which had numerous subsequent printings.
Significant changes occurred during McKone’s administration. A new high school building was constructed in 1906-1907. The original 1872 built Central School building was demolished in June 1906, following the graduation of the Class of 1906. There was some controversy with delays in the construction of the new school. Unfortunately, the construction took up the entire 1906-1907 school year, and the class of 1907 became known as the class without a school.
In 1902, Albion High School received accreditation from the North Central Association. In 1905, “common course diplomas were given to graduating seniors. Prior to that time diplomas were given in special subjects. In 1902, Manual Arts was added to the curriculum. Home Economics followed in 1910. The semester plan of having the school year divided into two terms was instituted April 10, 1899, during McKone’s first year in office.
The first high school yearbook, called the Albionesis was published by the class of 1900. Another yearbook would not appear until 1918. The high school newspaper, The Breeze, made its debut in January of 1906, and continued for nearly 75 years until its cessation in 1980.
As the duties of superintendent of the Albion Public Schools increased, it was necessary to add the separate position of principal at the high school. Luther H. Baker assumed these duties in the fall of 1899.
McKone resigned his position in Albion at the end of the 1915-1916 school year, to enter the realty/insurance business in Jackson. The resignation of William J. McKone prompted the board of education to search for Albion’s fifth superintendent. They selected Lusius Wade Fast. McKone kept in touch with Albion friends and often attended spacial events here in his later years. He died in Jackson on August 28, 1928.
Source: Frank Passic. A History of the Albion Public Schools. Albion, Michigan: E. Weil Publishing Services. 1991.