Jordan High School's History and Alumni

  • Named for Duke administrator, school board chairman, and life-long educator Charles E. Jordan, and under the leadership of Principal John Smith, Jordan High School opened in the fall of 1963 as the first desegregated school in Durham County. With an enrollment of under 500 students in that first year, the school educated the Southwest Durham community. By 1966, the original structure (what is now the main building) housed both Githens Junior High School and Jordan Senior High School until 1988 when Githens moved to its own location. 

    During the new few decades, the school would experience a transformation as the student population increased, additional programs developed, and athletics expanded. During the 2013-2014 academic year, the school celebrated its 50th anniversary with a series of special events including a panel discussion, updated website, and the inaugural faculty and athletics hall of fame ceremonies. That same year, history teacher Brian McDonald documented the school’s early beginnings in his book Not the End, But the Beginning: The Impact of Race and Class on the History of Jordan High School, 1963-1988

    Today, the school serves as the flagship of Durham Public Schools. With an overall enrollment of almost 2000 students and led by its two largest programs (the Freshman Academy and the Advanced Placement Program), the school emphasizes not only academic excellence but also students graduating with options. With the support of an active Alumni Association, led by President Stephen Barringer, the school continues its tradition of community involvement, educational growth, and academic excellence.