Public education began in the city of Grand Forks in 1873 when Miss Hattie Richmond taught eight students in a one-room schoolhouse. In 1874, the Grand Forks County Commissioners divided the county into two school districts. In March 1875, George Wheeler was appointed as the first Superintendent of Schools for Grand Forks County by the Dakota Territorial Council. Wheeler was instrumental in organizing the Grand Forks Public School District as well as the school board.
Construction on the Grand Forks Public School (popularly known as "Central") was completed in 1882. Located on Fourth Street, this building consisted of eight rooms, along with rooming quarters in the basement for principal E.J. Phillips. There were only two members of the first high school graduating class. A second school opened on Belmont Avenue in 1884 and, a third, Wilder School, was built in 1891. By 1900, enrollment had swelled to almost 1,700 students.
Construction on a new Central High School began in 1917, while the city's first junior high, South, was built by the Works Progress Administration in 1932. A second junior high, Valley, was added in 1955. Student enrollment reached such a point that Red River High School was opened in 1967.
The history of education in the rest of Grand Forks County varied by location. The first schoolhouse in the town of Northwood was built in 1879, while the first school district in Plymouth Township was established in 1883. The townships of Moraine and Niagara formed school districts in 1885, while rural Larimore township had two schools by 1897. Consolidation in the mid-1900s caused many of these rural schools to close. For example, the Elm Grove School District was annexed by Larimore in 1956, while the Ferry School District was annexed by Manvel in 1964.
Grand Forks: A Pictorial History by D. Jerome Tweton: 1986
Grand Forks County Heritage Book by the Grand Forks County Heritage Book Committee: 1976
History of the Grand Forks Public Schools: A Century of Learning by Robert J. Kulack and Melo Dee Loebrick: 1981
The Grand Forks County Superintendent of Schools Records, 1883-1994, have been divided into three series:
Series 1: Grand Forks County/City Census, 1890-1993
Series 2: Annual Reports, 1883-1992
Series 3: Final Teacher Reports, 1889-1994