Coming soon... SRHS 150th Anniversary & 6th Annual Show & Shine Car Show!!!

History & Traditions


In 1874, Santa Rosa High School opened its doors as the eighth high school in California. Until 1958, for more than 80 years, it was the only high school in Santa Rosa. SRHS has a long and proud history of providing a comprehensive, quality education to its community.

Santa Rosa Junior College, now located adjacent to the SRHS campus, was a part of the high school, sharing campus, classrooms and teachers from 1918 to 1932.

With its 1920s look and feel, SRHS served in 1985 as the set for much of the Francis Ford Coppola film Peggy Sue Got Married, starring Kathleen Turner and Nicholas Cage.

Today, SRHS continues to offer rigorous academic and vocational programs, offering courses in English, math science, social studies, foreign languages and physical education. As the only comprehensive high school in Santa Rosa, it also offers studies in agriculture (Animal, Floriculture, Viticulture, and Vet Tech Prep), automotive technology, business, CAD drafting, ceramics, electronics, metal fabrication and wood shop.

SRHS continues to be an academic leader. For nine consecutive years it earned the Santa Rosa City School District’s highest SAT scores. In 2008, nine members of the senior class were named as National Merit Scholars, and a member of its faculty was awarded the prestigious Jack London Award for innovative and successful teaching. SRHS was also granted a California Preservation Award for its efforts to maintain its historical structures.

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School History

Santa Rosa High School, organized in 1874, opened its doors in 1875, with a three-year program of studies for a student body of ten, eight females and two males. They were taught by a faculty of three. This first high school was located in classrooms on the second floor of the John C. Fremont School (popularly called the “Fourth Street School”) located on Fourth Street. The first class graduated in 1878. SRHS closed its doors in 1881 because of a lack of funding, but it opened again the next year and has remained in session ever since.

Built in 1866, the Fremont School was overcrowded by the 1880s. An election in 1893 raised capital and with available state funding, a handsome three-story building of native redwood was built on Humboldt and Benton Streets for SRHS. It opened in the fall of 1895. This building made science experiments possible, and the curriculum was expanded to include, among others, courses in French, German, trigonometry, solid geometry and economics. In 1921, a fire of mysterious origin destroyed the building and almost all of its contents. For the next four years, students attended classes in donated and rented space in downtown Santa Rosa. Additional capital was secured in a 1923 election, and the classic brick building on Mendocino Avenue opened for classes in January 1925.

All the original brick buildings were completed by 1935, although Burke Hall, the agriculture building, constructed by the WPA, wasn’t finished until 1940. During the school year of 1962-63, the buildings were rebuilt to the earthquake standards of state legislation. Beginning in 2000, the interior of the main building underwent a refurbishing to give it a 1920 look and feel. And in the fall of 2005, the two-story DeSoto Hall, located behind the Sara Pryor Music Building, opened its doors.

List of SRHS Principals

NamesYears of Service
Melville Dozier1875 – ?? *
Frederic L. Burk?? – 1904 *
E. Morris Cox1904 – 1909
E. Morris Cox1909
Charles L. Searcy1909 – 1912
Dewitt Montgomery1912 – 1919
I.D. Steele1919 – 1921
E.H. Barker1921 – 1923
Gardiner W. Spring1923 – 1931
Walter C. Patchett1931 – 1938
Lloyd K. Wood1938 – 1941
Thorton H. Battelle1941 – 1946
Frederick F. Duey1946 – 1970
John J. O’Sullivan1970 – 1981
Daniel P. Thomas1981 – 1985
Robert B. Bunting1985 – 1989
Michael C. Panas1989 – 1997
William Waxman1997 – 2002
Billie Sue Sion2002 – 2003 **
Anton Negri2002 – 2007
James Goddard2007 – 2009
Billie Sue Sion2009 – 2010 **
Brad Coscarelli2010 – 2018
Kimberly Clissold Ph.D. 2018 – Present ***

* Dates are uncertain because records are incomplete or were lost in the fire of 1921.
** The only female principal. Served as temporary replacement.
*** First female Principal appointed to the position

Once a Panther, Always a Panther!