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Clifton Ellis Byrd (December 14, 1859 – February 26, 1926) was among the most prominent educators in Louisiana in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The nationally recognized C.E. Byrd High School (founded 1925) in Shreveport, the alma mater of many of that city's civic and political leaders, bears his name. C.E. Byrd is Shreveport's oldest public high school.

Byrd was born in Bath County, Virginia to John Thomas Byrd and the former Sarah Rebecca McClintic. He was not related to the Virginia Byrd family dynasty. He attended local schools, then Augusta Military Academy (closed 1984) near Staunton, and the University of Virginia at Charlottesville from 1882-1883. He taught school in Front Royal from 1883–1889, when he accepted a principalship in Monroe, Louisiana.

In 1892, he left Monroe to become principal of the first public high school in Shreveport, in two rented rooms in the YMCA building at a salary of $70 per month. In 1899 Byrd became the Superintendent of Schools. After six years as superintendent, Byrd accepted the presidency of Louisiana Tech University (then Louisiana Industrial Institute) in Ruston where he served for only one year. In 1907, he returned to Shreveport to become superintendent of the Caddo Parish public schools, serving until his death.

Byrd was a delegate to the Council of Education in Louisiana in 1913 and a member of the Louisiana Teachers Association. In 1894 Byrd married the former Martha Matilda Lockhart "Mattie" McFee of Monroe (December 25, 1868- September 27, 1940. They had had two children, Mary Byrd (born 1895) and Clifton Byrd, Jr. (born 1897). Clifton and Mattie Byrd are buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Shreveport.

Byrd was a Democrat at a time when virtually every elected official and most appointed officials as well were members of the state's overwhelmingly majority party. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Masonic lodge, the Elks Club, Rotary Club, and Sigma Nu college fraternity.


  • "Clifton Ellis Byrd", A Dictionary of Louisiana Biography, Vol. 1 (1988), p. 137
  • New Orleans Times-Picayune, February 27, 1926
  • Henry E. Chambers, A History of Louisiana (1925)



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