History

Radford is the oldest private school in El Paso, Texas. Founded in 1910 by a group of local businessmen, the school was first known as the El Paso School for Girls. 

The school was originally located along the Rio Grande River in 2 homes in what is now known as the Sunset Heights area. There were about 25 original students from 7th grade and above in the school's first year. The school was both a day school and a boarding school for girls whose families lived outside of El Paso. The girls were given a thorough education; in addition to reading, writing and arithmetic, they were also schooled in manners, decorum and home economics. 

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The schools' location on the border of the U.S. and Mexico has shaped its history and culture. Along with US ranchers, Mexican families who feared for their children's safety in the turbulent times following the Mexican Revolution sent their daughters north to be educated at Radford. 

During the Mexican Revolution, the school's students could hear and watch as battles raged just across the river. Because the school was just a stray bullet away from the war, it was moved to a safer location near Fort Bliss, at 2001 Radford Street, where it remains today. 

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During the Great Depression, the El Paso School for Girls struggled. The school’s recently hired principal, the indomitable Dr. Lucinda de Leftwich Templin, began a search for benefactors to save the school from financial failure. George A. and Julia Brown Radford, personal friends of Dr. Templin, invested in the school and established its initial endowments. In 1931 the school's name was changed to the Radford School for Girls. Dr. Templin continued to lead the school until her retirement in 1967. Her spirit lives on in the unique collections she left to the school. 

Dr. Templin was an avid correspondent and collector. Her interests were wide-ranging and she had many pen pals. She corresponded with renowned politicians, artists, scholars and military leaders. Over the years, Dr. Templin amassed a large, eclectic collection of items. She was fascinated by Napoleon Bonaparte and Abraham Lincoln, the Mexican Revolution and modern warfare. Upon her death, her collections were left to the school and can be seen today throughout the hallways and classrooms. The simple act of walking to class takes a student through a historical and cultural journey from the past. 

Top to Bottom: Small War Museum still exists at the school; the Napoleonic collection of Dr. Templin is displayed throughout Radford.
Top to Bottom: Small War Museum still exists at the school; the Napoleonic collection of Dr. Templin is displayed throughout Radford.

In 1976, Radford became a co-ed campus. When the school became co-educational, its name was changed to Radford School. By the 1970's and 80's fewer families needed to board their children and by 1987, Radford closed its boarding facilities. 

After more than a century, Radford continues to grow in the El Paso - Juarez community as an independent, non- sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory school that serves a diverse student body. Radford is recognized as one of the best private schools in the southwest, a place where education, culture and history help shape a new generation of leaders. 

Key Dates

  • 1910 – El Paso School for Girls was founded
  • 1917 – First building completed, a 3-story residence hall with one-story classroom additions
  • 1923 – School moved to its current location
  • 1927 – Dr. Lucinda de Leftwich Templin takes over as Director
  • 1931 – Name changed to Radford School for Girls
  • 1968 – Dr. Templin dies
  • 1976 – Radford becomes coed and renamed Radford School
  • 1987 – Radford no longer a Boarding School
  • 2010 – Radford turns 100
Dr. Lucinda de Leftwich Templin, Principal of Radford School from 1927-1967.
Dr. Lucinda de Leftwich Templin, Principal of Radford School from 1927-1967.