History of Socorro Schools

In 1878, a public school was opened in Socorro and Ysleta, but these schools were not continuous. By 1886, according to the county school census, there were 15 boys and 16 girls students. By 1906, Frances Culligan was teaching school in a two-room adobe building on Socorro Road, boys and girls were educated separately. The school was moved to another building on Socorro Road and North Loop in 1918 with Leone Moon Drugan as a teacher. In 1924, the current Silverio Escontrais school pre-k opened, the land was donated by Silverio Escontrias. The school was paid for by a 1923 bond issue. In 1923, the first district school board election was held, before the county commissioner’s court did the selecting of school trustees. Mary Moon, Silverio Escontraias, and John Shea were elected. Other early school trustees included Henry Brown, Louisa  Moon, Margurite Moon Murray, L.L. Lee, L.L. W Riley, Spencer Ford, Harvey S. Hilley, George Bovee, George Drugan, Columbus Brown, Seth Orndorff, Aurora Valdez, T.H. Apodaca, John A. Carr, and Clarence Willams.

The school was  K-8  and there was no high school in Socorro until 1964. Socorro was a common school, county-run until it became an independent school district in 1961. The first superintendent was the grade school’s long-time principal, Myrtle Cooper from 1961 to 1962. The first school board of the independent school district was composed of S.J. Ashley, Videl Fresquez, Robert Adams, Columbus Brown, Millican, H.D. Hilley, and A.S. Christensen.  The first high school was built in 1964. In the 1970s the district enrollment started to grow and the district started to expand east. In 1980, H.D Hilley Elementary opened in the Rio Vista Area. The school was named after school board president, Harvey D. Hilley. Later in the  1980s, Horizon Heights opened in Horizon City, Campestre in Moon City, Vista Del Sol Elementary and Hueco Tanks Elementary opened in East El Paso. The second high school, Montwood High School opened in 1990.

Since 1954 the El Paso County Historical Society has been a driving force in the historic scene of El Paso. EPCHS strives to foster research into the history of the El Paso area; acquire and make available to the public historic materials; publish and encourage historical writing pertaining to the area; and to develop public consciousness of our rich heritage.