A Quality Education for A Quality Life

History of Hillcrest Elementary

301 Kentucky Avenue
Ruston, LA  71270

Phone:  318-255-0550
FAX:  318-255-0578
Hillcrest Hawks


The boundary of the Ruston School District #1 was enlarged and redrawn in 1922.  The School Board the next year called the tremendous $175,000 bond election which included the construction of a school in the north side of Ruston.

The building was referred to as the Northside School. The architect was J. W. Smith and site selected was the original home site of R.E. Russ.  This site was located at the corner of North Monroe Street and West Maryland Avenue.  Coushatta Street bounded the site on the east.  The site was a high hill which was the highest point in Ruston.  This location was the basis for the school being named

Hillcrest Elementary.  The contract for building the school was $55,325.00.

           According to Mr. H.E. Townsend, the first principal of Hillcrest was Miss May Huey.  The school enrollment grew through the years as much by consolidating schools just outside Ruston as by the growth of Ruston.  Miss Mattie Kendall was principal of the school in the mid 1930’s.  These two principals were not only principals, but they taught a full teaching load.

           The following is a list of people who have served as principal:

1925                          Miss May Huey

1933                          Miss Mattie Kendall

1940-41                    Miss Hattie Winfree

1941-43                    Mr. James W. Ware

1943-55                   W. H. Rockhold

1955-66                   Mrs. Lizzie Riser

1966-75                   Mr. Murphy J. Barr

1975-79                   Mr. Owen Jean Hall

1979-80                   Mrs. Bobbie Sue Lann

1980-84                   Dr. Owen Jean Hall

1984-86                   Dr. Glenn Wilkins

1986-87                   Dr. Owen Jean Hall

1987-97                   Mrs. Ann Gilbert

1997-Present          Patrice Hay/Patrice Hilton


           On at least two occasions, strong moves were made by the school patrons to rename the school Russ Memorial Elementary School.  Neither move was strong enough to actually change the name.  A major alteration was made to the building in 1949 by Lincoln Builders for $34,419.

           The basic instructional program consisted of reading, language, spelling, and writing and math, science, social studies, and health and physical education.  A large number of students were brought to school by buses.  The 4-H Club was an active club but was sponsored by the Agricultural Extension Office.  Health services began to be available.  Later, both hearing and vision checks were administered to students in designated grades.  A special education class was added to Hillcrest to help students with special needs.


The rapid growth of Ruston in the 1950’s and early 1960’s resulted in overcrowding at the aging Hillcrest School.  Many subdivisions sprang up on the north side of town.  The move to modernize schools was led by Superintendent of Schools, Morelle Emmons.  The original Hillcrest building was 40 years old.

           The plans were made to build a new elementary school on the north side of town.  The school board bought the W. W. Johnson property, 900’ X 726’ tract on Kentucky Avenue and Northwood Drive, for $950 per acre.  The new Hillcrest was part of a building program which included the construction of Hillcrest, Cypress Springs, Glen View Junior High, and addition to Ruston High.  The contract for Hillcrest went to R. J. Jones and Sons of Alexandria for a total bid of $362,841.  The new building was accepted in August, 1962 in time for the 1962-63 school year.  The Hillcrest PTA preferred the Hillcrest for the new school.

           In 1963, the principalship at Hillcrest and Cypress Springs were made into fulltime positions.  The new Hillcrest school had a fine period of development with an excellent devoted faculty, a supportive parent group, and an energetic and enthusiastic student body.

           The Hillcrest PTA (Parent Teacher Association), due to differences with the national PTA in some basic beliefs, changed its name to PTC(Parent Teacher Club) and was no longer affiliated with the PTA.  The PTC continued as an active group.  The PTC has conducted fund raising activities at the school to purchase needed items for the school and its students.

            Kindergarten was added to Hillcrest in the 1967-68 school year with half day morning and afternoon sessions.  In 1970-71, the court ordered an integration plan that brought full integration to Hillcrest with faculty and students.  In the 1980’s, the emphasis was on mastering designated reading and math skills at set grade levels.  The school adjusted to these changes and continues to provide good sound education for just over 450 students.

           The new school has a very large playground area and a variety of playground equipment that is age-appropriate.  An indoor gymnasium provides a place for an excellent physical education program for Kindergarten-Fifth students.  The school also offers music, art,  computer lab, gifted and talented classes for students.  The auxiliary classes combined with basic classes provide a sound educational background for each student at Hillcrest Elementary.

1983/1985 Building Addition

Renovations were done to the existing building in 1985.  Four classrooms were added.  A library was built.  Books were donated from individual classrooms and also purchased to begin the first centralized library for Hillcrest students.  A multi-purpose room was added to be used for school-wide functions, parent-teacher meetings,  music classes. Two restrooms were added.  A computer lab was also added, but was used as a regular classroom before it was actually a computer lab.

2004 Renovation

The next major renovation began in the spring of 2005 funded by the Bond Millage renewal in 2004.  This project took about two years to complete.  Michael Walpole, Architect, headed up this project.  The entire building got new lighting, flooring, ceiling tile, roofing, and paint.  All rooms got new heat/cool units with additional venting.  A new wing was added to the back of the building which included one large room for multi-purpose use.  New restrooms for students and one new faculty restroom was in this area.  Five classrooms were also included in this wing.  A new bookroom was added here.  A new intercom and fire alarm system were added to the entire building.  Students got new chairs and desks for all classrooms.  Old restrooms were updated with new fixtures, tile, lighting, etc.  The office area was renovated.  During this time, the Parent Teacher Club purchased new equipment for the playground.  They also bought a stage curtain for the gym.



At this time, Hillcrest has a faculty that consists of 51.  This includes 20 Kindergarten-Fifth Grade teachers, 3 special education teachers, 7 paraprofessionals, a librarian, computer lab proctor, art, music, speech, GT, and office staff.   We have an enrollment of about 450 students, Kindergarten through

Fifth Grade with two self-contained special education class.

           The state of Louisiana places a great deal of importance on test results and schools receive a school performance score based on  test scores, attendance, etc.

For the 2007-08 school year, Hillcrest received a school performance score of

109. 0.  This is a growth of 6.4 points from the previous year.  The growth label for the year is Exemplary Academic Growth. 

           The Hillcrest faculty and staff strive to provide a safe environment to insure that all students achieve high academic standards and develop good character.  The goal is for all students to become productive adults in today’s society.



           Construction of addition to back wing to include additional classrooms.