Presented by the Laurens County Historical Society, Dublin, Georgia. For questions and information, please contact Scott B. Thompson, Sr. at dublinhistory@yahoo.com.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

KYLE T. ALFRIEND

KYLE T. ALFRIEND
A Super Superintendent


When the Dublin City Board of Education began to seek a replacement for W.R. Lanier as Superintendent of the Dublin City School System, they knew they needed to find the best man -women weren't considered in those days- for the job.  As one of the leading cities in the state at the time, the appointment of a highly qualified individual was critical.  The board chose, and wisely so, Kyle Terry Alfriend of Hancock County, Georgia to take charge of the five hundred and twenty five
student system.   Though this would be the only time in his career that Alfriend served as a superintendent of a public school system, he was regarded by his peers as one of the foremost educators in the state.  Morever, many considered him to be one of the finest educators in the Southeast.

Kyle Terry Alfriend, Sr. was born on October 17, 1874 in Hancock County, Georgia.  A son of Benjamin Abram and Mary Alfriend, Kyle was a member of the first graduating class of Sparta High School.  He attended George Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, where he obtained his formal training as a teacher.  For eleven years, Alfriend taught Latin and history at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville.

Based on outstanding recommendations, the Dublin Board of Education appointed Kyle Alfriend as school superintendent for the 1906-1907 school year.  During his first year, Superintendent Alfriend was paid the grand sum of $1250.00.  As superintendent, Alfriend occupied an honorary seat on the Board of Trustees of the newly constructed Carnegie Library.  He completed his second term in 1908, before a wealthier system called upon him to take charge of their main high school.

Beginning in the fall of 1908 and for four years, Alfriend took over the principalship of Lanier and Gresham High Schools, Macon main boy's and girl's secondary schools respectively.

He returned to Milledgeville, not at Georgia Military College, but down the street at Georgia Normal and Industrial College.  As chairman of the Department of History and Sociology and active in the civic affairs of the old Capital City, Professor Alfriend became a well-known leader in the college and in Baldwin County as well. The voters elected Alfriend in 1919 to represent them for a two-year term in the Georgia Legislature.  Naturally, he was named to chair the House Committee on
Education.   Representative Alfriend led the fight for a compulsory tax to support local public schools and the Barrett-Rogers Act consolidating smaller schools to increase the amount of funds available directly for education.

Professor Alfriend was always an active member of the Georgia Educational Association.  In 1919, he was elected the secretary of the group of educators dedicated to the promotion of advances in Georgia's schools.    The following year, his fellow members elected him vice-president.

In 1920, Kyle Alfriend took a new job and moved across the downtown area back to Georgia Military College, this time as President of the institution.

Two years later, President Alfriend took office as President of the Georgia Educational Association.  During his term, the organization's membership tripled its number of members.   In addressing the delegates at the convention in Columbus, Alfriend stated his belief that, "Our main purpose is to better the conditions in rural schools.  Not only do we want to better school houses," he said, "But, we want a better environment, better equipped teachers, all of which means that we will need more money," Alfriend concluded.

Alfriend specifically addressed the members of the Parent Teacher Association in attendance pointing out the critical need to co-ordinate the three essential elements of education; home, church and school.

Though he was addressing educators more than eighty-five years ago,
Alfriend's words still ring true today.  "It is extremely difficult for teachers to
properly carry out their work in the schools if they do not have the absolute
sympathy of the parents," he said as he appealed to all of the mothers in the state to
support their schools and their teachers.

Alfriend urged his congregation to eliminate the evils of ignorance and
poverty among the student population believing that poverty perpetuated ignorance
and ignorance perpetuated poverty.

In the years following the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution allowing women to vote, President Alfriend urged the women present to register to vote so as to empower them in making decisions in the operation of schools in the state, thereby insuring the happiness of their children.

To make a point about the necessity of more investment into the public school systems, Alfriend pointed out that usually a community's crown jewels were its courthouse and jail. He urged the community leaders in attendance to shift their efforts to building bigger and better schools and to show them off as a symbol of their town's commitment to quality education.

Later that year, Alfriend conducted an unsuccessful campaign for the office of State School Superintendent.  After losing the election to M.A. Brittain, Alfred returned to the classroom as Professor of History at Bessie Tift College in Forsyth, but continued to serve as Secretary of the Georgia Education Association.  While at Bessie Tift, Alfriend served as Dean. He also taught education and psychology.

In his family life, Professor Alfriend married Katherine (Katie) Elizabeth Cone, daughter of his Georgia Military College supervisor, Professor Oscar Malcolm Cone,  on December 22, 1904 in her native home of Milledgeville.    They had five children: Kyle Terry, Jr., Malcolm Cone, Mary Watts, Rebecca Hunt and Katherine Carr.

An accomplished Mason, Alfriend was elected Master of the Benevolent Lodge # 3 in Milledgeville in 1922.

Kyle Terry Alfriend, Sr. died on March 20, 1946 at the age of seventy-two.  He is buried in  Milledgeville next to his wife. 

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