We have talked a lot about the beginnings of Shades Cahaba High School and the beginnings of Shades Valley High School but now I want to talk more about the beginnings of other schools in Homewood and the beginning of the Homewood School System. The Board of Education was established on December 22, 1969, but they assumed authority on July 1, 1970, making 2020 the 50th anniversary of the Homewood School System.

A lot went into establishing the school system including working out ownership of schools with the Jefferson County Board of Education, distributing students among the schools and having high school students attend Shades Valley High School and Homewood Junior High while a new high school was being built. The man who was at the center of this change and a major influence on the school system we have today is my guest, former Homewood High School Principal and Superintendent Michael Gross.

I noticed a similarity between the beginnings of Shades Cahaba High School and Homewood High School. It’s the community gathering around and making the sacrifices needed to create the best school they could for their children in Homewood. 

Mr. Gross and I talked for a long time so I have broken his interview into two episodes. This first one, which is still long,  focuses on creating the school system and building the high school. The second is a shorter one that talks about creating a successful athletic program. 

Michael Gross and the beginnings of the Homewood School System | Shades Cahaba Oral History Project