History of Education in Sacramento County

Stack of history books

The 36-page softbound book, the result of years of work and research by CRTA State Capital Division #5 in partnership with SCOE staff, highlights the early days of public schooling in Sacramento County, including Sacramento area educators and school history.

The Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) published Sacramento County Superintendents of Schools: 150 Years of Leadership in 2003 to share nuggets of historical gold about the early days of public schooling in Sacramento County.

The 36-page softbound book is one in a series presented by the California Retired Teachers Association (CRTA), State Capital Division #5, covering Sacramento area educators and school history. It is the result of several years of work by members of the chapter’s history committee. Under the leadership of past chairman J. Martin “Mike” Weber (a retired SCOE science consultant and a prominent member of the education community), committee members researched and synopsized the lives of the 19 county superintendents who served from 1853 to 2003. Sacramento County Office of Education staff edited, designed, and printed the book.

The publication covers a span of 150 years commencing with Sacramento’s first county superintendent of schools. It was planned in 2003 as a sesquicentennial tribute to the county’s education leaders.

A few interesting facts uncovered include:

  • Sacramento’s first county superintendent was a businessman also serving as the county tax assessor (H.J. Bidleman, who served from 1853 to 1854)
  • Sacramento’s first elected county superintendent almost didn’t make it to California—he was shipwrecked near San Francisco (Dr. F. W. Hatch, who served three terms of office starting in 1855)
  • The first woman elected Sacramento County superintendent couldn’t vote for herself, as women’s voting rights hadn’t yet been established in California (Minnie O’Neill, who served from 1907 to 1914)

A complimentary copy of the publication was distributed to each Sacramento County public school district and school, as well as each of the public library branches in Sacramento County.


Printed copies may be purchased from the CRTA State Capital Division #5 by calling Phil Dunzweiler: (916) 421-8205.


Historical Photo Collection