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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

RICKOFF, ANDREW JACKSON

RICKOFF, ANDREW JACKSON

RICKOFF, ANDREW JACKSON (23 Aug. 1824-29 March 1899) reorganized the CLEVELAND PUBLIC SCHOOLS as superintendent during the formative period following the CIVIL WAR. Born in New Hope, N.J., he graduated from Woodward College in Cincinnati and later received a master's degree from Ohio Univ. After conducting his own private school, he became a teacher and school superintendent in Portsmouth, O. In 1864 he became superintendent of schools in Cincinnati, from where he was brought to Cleveland in the same capacity in 1867. During his 15-yr. Cleveland tenure he abolished separate education by sex and reorganized all grades into 3 divisions: primary, grammar, and high schools. He was aided in some of his reforms by his wife, Rebecca Davis Rickoff, an authority on primary education. Rickoff also undertook to improve teacher training, inaugurating a week-long pre-school institute in fall 1868 and opening the Cleveland City Normal School (see TEACHER EDUCATION) in 1874. He introduced the study of German in order to attract the children of the city's GERMANS from their own private schools into the public system. By the time of his replacement by a new school board in 1882, the school system had grown from 9,643 students and 123 teachers to 26,990 students and 473 teachers. Rickoff had served on the first executive committee of the NORTH EASTERN OHIO TEACHERS ASS'N. formed in 1869 and was made a life director of the National Council of Education in 1881. He later became superintendent of schools in Yonkers, N.Y., and headed Felix Adler's Workingmen's School. He authored numerous readers and arithmetic textbooks, as well as Past and Present of Our Common School Education (1877). Dying in Berkeley, Cal., he was returned to Cleveland for burial in LAKE VIEW CEMETERY. His daughter Bertha M. Rickoff, a Cleveland public school teacher, survived.