|W. Douglas Hartley
St. Johns Public Schools
(October 25, 1918 - April 5, 1995)
W. Douglas Hartley (born October 25, 1918 - died April 5, 1995)
He was the son of Alvin Hartley from Mandarin Florida and Maude Davis Hartley. His mother was the daughter of L. O.
Davis Sr and the sister of L. O. Davis Jr. a sheriff of St. Johns County. The family Lived in West Augustine. He was the
fifth of seven children. His brothers and sisters were: Ty, A. J., Eileen, Vada, Larry and Shirley Ann.
His first school that he attended was Evelyn Hamblen. When he was there it was New Augustine Elementary School
He attended junior high at Orange Street school and high school at Ketterlinus.
John A. Crookshank (his teacher then, Crookshank would later become the Superintendent of St. Johns County Public
Schools.) would help him get a scholarship to Spartanburg Jr. College. He then attended Wofford College also in
Spartanburg where he received a B. A. majoring in history graduating magna cum laude and got a Masters at Vanderbilt
in Southern History.
Hartley received a honorary degree in 1985 from Jacksonville University. He received a honory doctor of law from
Flagler College in March, 1985.
He first taught at Rugby Prep School for Boys in Louisville Kentucky.
World War II
He was drafted for service in World War II. He was a staff sargent in the Intelligence Division serving in North Africa,
Italy and other locations in Europe.
When he got out of the service he attended the University of Florida where he took education courses.
Career in St. Johns County
Started in St. Johns County education in 1945. When he returned from the war he became the assistant principal at
Ketterlinus. He taught history and English there also. He got his entrance by starting as a substitute teacher.
In 1953 he ran for Superintendent he resigned his position at Ketterlinus.
School superintendent for twenty-eight years. During his superintendency Crookshank (1959), Webster (1959), Hartley
(1981), St. Augustine High School (1961), Ponte-Vedra/Palm Valley (1959) and Julington Creek (1972) Allen D. Nese
Junior Senior High School (1984), St. Augustine Technical Center (1971) were built.
Family in St. Johns County Politics
While Hartley was Superintendent of Schools, his extended family was heavily involved in St. Johns county government.
Dating back to World War II his mother was on the draft board. Later she would be Chairperson of the school board. His
uncle L. O. Davis Jr. was the Sheriff, Bob Barkley, his brother-in-law, was a City Commissioner and Mayor, Ed Cooksey,
another brother-in-law, was a county commissioner. His brother was a St. Augustine policeman and his sister Shirley
Ann was a member of the county Library board.
Brown v. Board of Education was handed down on May 17, 1954 ending segregation in public schools. It would be a
long time before St. Johns County would implement the decision. In the early 60s a few schools were "token"
desegrated. Federal Judge Bryan Simpson in Jacksonville gave the order to finally desegregate the St. Johns County
public schools. It took another three years for the order to be fully implimented.
As bad as this record seems, St. Johns County was desegregated before most of the surrounding counties. Dr. Hartley's
good relations with the total St. Johns community may have been severely tested; but the community was able to pull
through - remember that Hartley was an elected official and regardless of his personal position was given the cover of
the court decisions to pull desegregation off.
During Hartley's tenure as School Superintendent all schools in St. Johns county were accredited by the Southern
Association of Accredited Schools and Colleges.
"I don't believe test scores are proof of education." W Douglas
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