John R. Stevenson

Color photograph of John Stevenson

Dr. John R. Stevenson. Image from Find A Grave user MaxieMum.

(1931-2019)  Stevenson was born in Columbia, South Carolina to Rev. John R. Stevenson, Sr., and Mrs. Lillie Mae Martin Stevenson. He attended schools in South Carolina and received his BS from Allen University in Columbia. John Stevenson served in the US Army Signal Corps. He was a duty officer in the Department of Army Cryptography at the Pentagon. He later did tours in France and Germany. He earned his master’s degree in education with a concentration in curriculum from Boston University. He went on to receive his doctorate, with a major in public school administration, from Teachers College at Columbia University.

An exceptional educator, he served as a teacher, counselor, principal, assistant superintendent, associate superintendent, deputy superintendent, and superintendent of schools. Dr. Stevenson was the first African-American superintendent of Richland County School District One. During his professional career, he strongly supported mandatory kindergartens for young people, smooth desegregation of public schools, and established high standards of academic excellence. Under his leadership Richland School District I has received national and state acclaim for excellence in some of the district’s programs.  He served in that capacity from 1986 until his retirement in 1994. He was later named Superintendent Emeritus in honor of his many years of outstanding service and distinguished leadership to the district. The Richland Street administration building was named in his honor, and he was inducted into the district’s hall of fame in 2004.