PUTNAM CITY SCHOOLS WERE BORN IN 1914
LEO C. MAYFIELD WAS BORN IN MAY OF 1913
The page in this DIRECTORY is a SALUTE to both!
This tribute was written by Paul Long, D.V.M. Class of ‘45
“Leo C. Mayfield, Educator”
Partisan supporters and alumni of Putnam City Schools may disagree on who had the best class or teacher, but when the subject arises, there is common agreement that a ‘Mr. Putnam City School’ can be none other than Leo C. Mayfield, active, alert and still interested in all things concerning Putnam City Schools, upon attaining his 90th birthday in 2003. He is a walking encyclopedia of Putnam City school lore.
Mr. Mayfield had a 36 year career in the Putnam City School system, engaged in all areas of responsibilty. Beginning in September of 1940 as a teacher of history, English, journalism and coaching, he also was adminstrator of the cafeteria and soon was faculty advisor to a Sea Scout troop. With an upward shift in administration, there was an opening for a junior high school principal, which went to Mr. Mayfield. The castastrophic high school fires during the Christmas seasons of 1940 and 1941 forced a heavy burden on the adminstration, but did eliminate the chore of overseeing the cafeteria.
Mr. Mayfield takes pride in saying that his coming to Putnam City was the best thing that ever happened to him; and one of the primary reasons was enabling him to meet his future wife, the charming Mary Ruth Lovell, who graduated in the spring of 1940.
Returning to teach in 1945 after three years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard, Leo also temporarily filled in as bus driver and sponsored the school newspaper, The Pirate Log. Soon another upward shift in administration opened up the position of high school principal, which Leo accepted and held for 17 years.
During this time, changing demograpics of urban sprawl provided Putnam City Schools with rapid growth and accompanying challenges. Leo Mayfield’s qualities, which included enthusiasm, diplomacy, motivational stimulus, good humor and firm but compassionate discipline combined with his ability to pick the correct person for a job, prepared him for becoming the point-man superintendent of schools in 1964, where he remained until retirement in 1978. I served a total of 58,000 days in the Putnam City School system” Mr. Mayfield proudly stated.
Before becoming superintendent, he was involved in providing the new Putnam City ‘Original’ High School for a first graduating class in 1959. Projecting graduating classes with more than 1,000, in the mid-1960’s, Superintendent Mayfield headed the team that opened Putnam City West High School in 1968 and Putnam City North High School in 1978.
One of Mr. Mayfield’s most gratifying accomplishments was implementing programs that reduced high school dropouts to less than one-half of their previous levels.
Twenty years later, after his retirement, Leo C. Mayfield is still an authority figure and elicits so much respect that an old alumnus, conversing with him at a Lunch Bunch meeting, asked, “Mr. Mayfield, when do I get to call you Leo?” If we do, it is a measure of affection, not disrespect.