When Brentwood was first incorporated, there was only one school, Lipscomb Elementary. Lipscomb came out of an academy system of schools created by leading citizens. It was founded by William Lipscomb, brother of David, in 1866.
One School Fondly Remembered
Lipscomb Academy, as it was then called, was first a two-room log building serving students from first grade through high school, both local residents as well as students from surrounding states. Boarding students lived with local families. According to the Brentwood Historical Commission, after Lipscomb left, it became a one-room county school serving students on the east side of Franklin Road.
John Oden, who wrote the book The Brentwood I Remember, said, “It was in bad repair when I went there. I wanted to go to the black school. It was in much better shape because it had heat and indoor plumbing.”
Luckily, a new building was constructed in 1949, but burned in 1958 from a boiler room fire. Rebuilt in 1959, the current structure was built in 1993.
The school has always been known for academic excellence. Many Brentwood residents remember the principal from 1971 until 1998, Jesse M. Frank, who had the philosophy that “every child can learn and will learn.”
Need for a New School
As the county grew, it became apparent that there was a need for a middle school. The one school was busting the walls covering kindergarten through eighth grade.
In August 1972, Northside Junior High School was opened for grades seven through nine. Starting with 850 students, by 1992, the number of students grew to over 1,000. Once Brentwood High School opened in 1982, the ninth grade was moved to the new high school, and eventually grade six was added.
The opening didn’t go smoothly, portable toilets had to be brought in until the plumbing was finished, the gym had no bleachers, and the principal rang a cowbell to replace the malfunctioning class bell system. All the trying times the initial faculty experienced at the school as they improvised to give their students a good education, bonded many of them together for decades.
Since that time, Northside has been renamed Brentwood Middle School. The teachers are just as dedicated as their predecessors. The school has acquired an impressive array of awards for academic excellence.
Over the last several years, it has been named twice as a National Blue-Ribbon School, a Reward School for Academic Achievement and Progress, and Best Schools.org named it as one of the top 30 schools in the United States.
Growth Leads to a Second Elementary School
Even after building a junior high school, Lipscomb Elementary was soon once again beyond capacity. It was time, the city council realized, to build another school. In the fall of 1977, Scales Elementary School was opened. Originally opened to serve kindergarten through sixth grade, it now serves kindergarten through fifth grade.
High School Students Had to Wait for a Local School
Students who graduated from Northside Junior High School in the ninth grade had to either take a half-hour bus ride to Franklin High School or go to a private school. Brentwood Academy had opened in 1969, and it was just down the road from Northside. However, most of the high school students made the commute.