Andrew J. Rickoff,
Educator, Administrator, Innovator.
The Cleveland Public School Board recognized one of its first superintendents by naming one of its elementary schools in his honor. Andrew Jackson Rickoff (1824-1899) was born in New Hope, New Jersey. He earned a bachelor's degree from Woodward College in Cincinnati and a master's degree from Ohio University. Prior to moving to Cleveland he served as the superintendent of schools in Portsmouth and Cincinnati Ohio. He became superintendent of schools in Yonkers, New York after his term in Cleveland.
Rickoff radically transformed the structure of the public school system in Cleveland while he served as superintendent for 15 years beginning in 1867. He created districts within the city and each was assigned its own administrative principals to manage them. When he began as superintendent the schools were segregated by gender and the classes were comprised of students of mixed ages and grades all in one classroom. The curriculum was not tailored to meet the individual educational needs by age and development.
During his tenure he created coed schools thus eliminating single gender schools in Cleveland. Rickoff formed three school divisions: primary, grammar and high school. Classes were then structured by grade and age appropriate instruction. He employed
women as principals and founded the Cleveland City Normal School to train teachers. His wife Rebecca Davis Rickoff, also a highly regarded educator, worked with him to transform educational training provided to both teachers and students. He was the author of numerous reading and math textbooks. The Rickoff's daughter, Bertha M. Rickoff was also a teacher in the Cleveland Public Schools. Rickoff was laid to rest at Lakeview Cemetery in Cleveland in 1899 after residing in Berkley, California.
The Andrew J. Rickoff School was first opened in 1917 and rebuilt in 1964. In 2002 the building was demolished to make way for a new school building that was built in 2005.
Charles Edward Adams,
Educator, Scientist, Entrepreneur, Civic Volunteer, Horticulturist.
Lifelong Mt. Pleasant resident Charles Edward Adams affectionately known to his family and friends as "Billy" was born January 3, 1947 to Clarence and Marjorie Avery Adams. He was born with a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (commonly called Brittle Bone disease) which caused most of his young life to be spent at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. This disease may have set limitations on Adams' physical activity, yet nothing stood in the way of him excelling academically or accomplishing his goals. Charles Edward Adams passed on October 2, 2005 and left a legacy for the residents
of Mount Pleasant and the City of Cleveland with his many works of art throughout the city.
Adams was the founder of The Outside In, a landscape architectural firm that provided specialized, scientific designs for interior and exterior commercial areas. He developed his business to be on the cutting edge and became the authority within the field of horticulture. Outside In was one of a small group of African American owned landscape architect firms in the United States and worked with several major projects in Greater Cleveland such as: Ronald McDonald House, Progressive Field, Cleveland Browns Stadium, The Euclid Corridor Project, Settler's Landing, Cancer Survivor's Plaza, Arbor Park, Bearings Inc., and The Lakefront Redevelopment Planning Project. For the Kinsman Road Revitalization Project in the Mount Pleasant neighborhood that he lived in, he created a special Afrocentric work. The sidewalks are decorated with mud cloth brickwork design that stands for "Brave Warrior Belts." He believed that it would give the community inspiration in its quest for improvements and revitalization.
Adams was a product of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District attending Sunbeam School for Crippled Children and later being one of the first African American students to attend South High School. As a result he was forced to deal with many prejudices while attending
the school, but was able to prevail as an honor student and a National Merit Scholar.
Adams attended Alma College in Alma, Michigan where he received a full scholarship and earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology in 1970. He later attended Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) and earned a Master of School Administration from The Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences in 1976. In that same year, he became the first African American with a Master's degree to work as an Assistant Clinical Professor at CWRU's esteemed Medical and Dental Schools. Adams had a profound interest in public health which helped him to research and document many of his findings in over 60 publications on various topics that included: sickle cell anemia, genetics and other topics relevant to the community.