History of Central Junior High School

Springdale, Arkansas

     It was called a “new concept” in the 1967 year book when the Springdale Public School system chose to split the Springdale Junior High School (whose mascot was the Bulldogs) into two junior high schools. Springdale was a fast-growing community with urban renewal, numerous trucking and poultry industries and Springdale Schools were showing the result of that growth. The two schools would be called Southwest Junior High and Central Junior High  with the cardinal directions for Springdale High School on Emma Ave. The schools would house 7th, 8th and 9th graders.  Southwest Junior High opened in the 1967-68 school year while at the same time Springdale Junior High School became Central Junior High in the same building on the Springdale High School campus on Emma Avenue.  There were two buildings known as the “West building” which was built in 1910 and the “Flat building” (due to the flat roof) which was built in 1952.  Central Junior High will become the Warriors and Southwest will become the Cougars. These mascots were voted on by the grade schools that fed the junior highs.

     The principal of Springdale Junior High before the split was Michael A. Zotti. The superintendent was Thurman G. Smith. The new principal of the new Central Junior High was Gene Rich on the SHS campus. The head football coach was Terry Foringer and the head basketball coach was Scot Van Hoose.  The band director was Sandy Porter. The first class of 9th graders had a total of 219 students!

     Central Junior High outgrew the SHS campus and the new Central Junior High would be built on West Huntsville Avenue and house 7th-9th graders in a modern building that opened in January 1976.  In 1976 the West wing was opened to only the 7th graders and eventually the East wing was opened for the 8th and 9th graders.  “I always thought it was interesting why the east hall was so much wider than the west hall-they measured the east hall but forgot to include the lockers. In the cafeteria when they measured it they forgot to include the kitchen.  That’s why they built that funky addition on the side.” Coy Patton, assistant principal.  A tornado hit the SHS campus on June 11, 1970, including the flat building that housed Central Junior High. On January 14, 1971 there was a fire in the flat building, the police suspected arson.     

    Noah Carter was the first principal in the new building with Lloyd Phillips (Razorback outland trophy winner and former Chicago Bear) being the vice- principal.  Roy Fears was the first football coach, Rex Web the first basketball coach and Ed Abbott was the first band director. Following Noah Carter (1973-1986) as principal was Don Pitts (1986-1993), Nancy Roark (1993-2002), Dr. Darrell Watts (2002-2012), Dr. Tamika Brown (2012-2014), Dr. Paul Griep (2004-2018), and Dr. Todd Loftin (2018-current).    

   The band program was started under the direction of Edward Abbott in 1976 in the new building.  Mr. Abbott, band director from 1975-2002, created an outstanding program peaking with 220 students in the marching band.  He made 1st divisions in marching, concert contest, site reading, Worlds of Fun playing contest, Silver Dollar City contest, marching in the Tulsa Fair parade, and most students to make all-region. Thomas Pittman was the first assistant director from 1984 to 1992. The band program continues to be one of the best junior high bands in the state.  Pat Ellison served as the head band director at SHS beginning in 1979. 


Milestones:

  • From 1980 to 2019 Dr. Jim Rollins served as superintendent of Springdale Public Schools and oversaw many improvements to CJHS.  From 2019 to present, Dr. Jared Cleveland serves as superintendent. 

  • In 1991 the mini-gym, in addition to the shop area, added three classrooms to the southwest wing.

  • In 1992 Central began our traditional Veterans’ Day program to thank Veterans and promote patriotism. This was spearheaded by Thomas Pittman, Social Studies chair at the time.

  • In 1995 the 7th graders were moved out of the CJHS campus to the new middle schools to solve the overcrowding issue, due to the growth of Northwest Arkansas. 

  • In 1995 computer labs were added to the school. 

  • In 2010, with a grant from Lowe’s Big Toolbox program, the Lowe’s Seminar Room was added as well as an addition to the library, under the direction of Dr. Darrell Watts

  • In 2011, the cafeteria addition was added to the facility under the direction of Dr. Rollins and Dr. Watts.

  • In 2012, Dr. Tamika Brown was Springdale’s first African American woman to be a secondary principal.

  • In 2020, CJHS students and faculty received the Shannon Wright Award