Central High School


About Us

As the first county high school, Central High School of Chattanooga opened its doors in September of 1907 on Dodds Avenue. In the first year Central enrolled 269 students. Of the 22 members of the first senior class, 19 graduated. The first high school in Hamilton County to offer a full four-year academic program, Central has continued to be a fully accredited member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools since 1919.

Eleven men have served as principals for Central High School. They are Mr. A. E. Darrah, Mr. John S. Ziegler, Mr. Stacy E. Nelson, Dr. W. Hobart Millsaps, Mr. Stanley J. Farmer, Mr. John D. Carnes, Mr. Charles H. Preston, Mr. Warren Hill, Mr. David Cowan, Mr. Robert Sharpe, and Mr. Finley King. The dedicated leadership of these fine men have had a great influence upon the school as well as the entire community.

Highlights in the school history include Central being chosen as one of the top 241 schools in the United States and one of the top seven schools in Tennessee. In May, 1987 the United States Department of Education named Central as a Nation's School of Excellence. In May, 1989 to 1991 Central served as a state approved pilot program instituting seven periods in the curriculum. In August 1991, Central was selected as one of five Hamilton County schools to institute Site-Based Decision Making. Under the Carnegie Initiative, Central instituted a Ninth Grade Academy, a Humanities, Fine Arts, and Communications Academy, a Math, Technology, and Science Academy, and a Technology, Communications, and Business Academy. Other milestones in Central's history include being chosen as the Tennessee recipient of the twenty-seventh National Bellamy Flag Award, receiving Freedom Foundations Awards, and winning eleven state athletic championships. Central was the first school in the state to establish its JROTC Battalion in December 1919 and to earn designation as an Honor Unit in 1927. Central graduates have included a presidential scholar as well as a national merit scholarship winner. The most illuminating fact in Central's history is the record of outstanding service rendered by its graduates to the city, state, and nation.

One of the distinguishing features of Central High School through the years has been the indescribable school spirit, a tremendous force for the success of any institution. In the years to come, Central High will continue to be unmatched in the range of its curriculum, in scope of its athletic programs, in the field of scholarship, in the versatility of the faculty, and in the achievements of its graduates.

Central High School Mission


The mission of Central High School is to provide a rigorous student-centered learning environment which develops and fosters individual academic achievement and personal responsibility which leads to post-secondary study, career-readiness, and self-sustainability.


The vision of Central High School is to provide a secure environment that fosters positive relationships among teachers, students, parents and community members. Students will be engaged in a relevant, diverse and varied curriculum that is driven by individual student needs, interests, abilities, and talents. This curriculum will incorporate varied teaching strategies and assessments. The school day will be structured to meet a variety of needs in the Central High School family. Our school will be a center of activity where caring adults guide students to be self-motivated life long learners.

The Motto:

Building on Tradition

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