History of Alhambra
The Alhambra Elementary School District was organized on August 6, 1888. Our first school was a one-room brick building on Shady Lane, now known as 33rd Avenue, between Grand Avenue and Indian School Road. Today, the Alhambra Elementary School District is no longer a small school on the west side of Phoenix. We now have 17 elementary schools, a preschool and a family resource center serving nearly 12,000 students in preschool through eighth grades. We are proud of our history and strive to maintain our excellent educational traditions.
A Spotlight on... Mrs. Dixie Lee Springfield
It is my pleasure to share this story about the first principal at Andalucia Elementary School. Andalucia School opened its doors to students in 1955. I was a third grader. The principal to lead the school was Mrs. Dixie Lee Springfield. Mrs. Springfield could always be seen on campus walking with her whistle and handkerchief in the same hand. She was a very strict principal requiring students to be on their best behavior always. In later years, I learned she expected her teachers to be the best teachers they could be every day they entered the classroom. She had very high expectations for her teachers!
Mrs. Springfield not only loved the students and Andalucia School, but she also loved the school community. Andalucia School was the hub of the community. Mrs. Springfield worked closely with parents to provide many activities for students and the community every year. The school carnival held every April was legendary! Favorites at the carnival included barbeque beef and Mexican food, all the fun carnival games, the cake walk, and the raffle. The student talent show held in the spring was very popular among all students. I was the master of ceremonies for the talent show during my seventh and eighth grade years. The seventh and eighth grade dance lessons held on the first Tuesday of the month were well attended, and students practiced what they learned from the lessons at the monthly dance held on a Friday evening. These activities were all sponsored and organized by the parents under the direction of Mrs. Springfield.
Mrs. Springfield was one of the first women to hold a principal position in the Alhambra School District. The other female principal was Mrs. Molly Stokes, principal at Valencia Primary School, now known as Granada Primary.
Mrs. Springfield retired in 1976. When she retired, she was honored by having the school library named the Dixie Lee Springfield Library. In later years, I had the privilege of taking her to lunch on a regular basis. She loved to talk about Andalucia School during our lunch time, particularly the students and the many parents that supported the school. I most remember that Mrs. Springfield was a very humble, gracious, intelligent, and very direct person. You never had to second guess what “Dixie Lee” was thinking. This is what made her such a wonderful school principal!
Dr. Jim Rice
AESD Superintendent, 2002-2010