Dr. Theodore Jackson "Jack" Farr (May 5, 1944–November 8, 2004) served as an educator in the Birmingham area for 37 years, the majority of which was spent as principal of Homewood High School and as Hoover City Schools' third superintendent.
Jack Farr was the younger of two sons of John and Mary Farr of Columbiana. His brother, John Jr followed in their father's footsteps, taking over Farr Automotive, while Jack pursued a career in education. After graduting from Shelby County High School in 1962, he worked for a year before starting at the University of Montevallo. He met the former Janice Smith there, whom he married on May 31, 1969. After receiving his Bachelors of Science, Farr continued at Montevallo, earning his Masters in Education in 1971. By then he was already coaching and teaching math at Vincent High School in Shelby County. Farr taught for five years at Vincent. In 1972, Farr and his wife had their only child, daughter Jani Leigh.
In 1972, shortly after Jani's birth, Farr became assistant principal at Homewood High School. He went on to become principal of Edgewood Elementary School in 1977 before returning to Homewood High as principal in 1978. During his years at Homewood High, the school was named as both a Blue Ribbon School and a Secondary School Recognized for Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. Farr served as Homewood High's principal until 1992.
Farr next became director of planning and community services for Hoover City Schools. Hoover had started its own school system only four years earlier. He was recruited by Hoover Superintendent Robert F. Bumpus, who had moved from his position as the Homewood superintendent the year before. Later in that year, Farr earned his Doctorate in Education from the University of Alabama. He eventually moved up to Assistant Superintendent. In 1996, Farr succeeded the retiring Bumpus as superintendent. During Farr's tenure, the Hoover school system opened five new schools.
On November 11, 2002, after suffering from headaches, Dr. Farr was diagnosed with a brain tumor. The very next week he underwent surgery that removed a portion of the tumor. Due to its location, surgeons were unable to safely remove the entire tumor. Radiation treatment and chemotherapy were done for the cancerous tumor in the months that followed. Despite initial success from his treatments, Farr's health became an issue again later. Farr began medical leave April 7, 2004 until his retirement became effective on June 1. He retired to spend more time with his family. A few months later, on November 8, Farr died at home with friends and family. He was buried on November 11 in Columbiana.
Between his diagnosis and retirement, Farr was given several honors. In November 2003, he was presented with Dr. John M. Davis Distinguished Educational Achievement Award for outstanding service and achievement in the state of Alabama by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. Just prior to his retirement, in May 2004, as Farr was recovering from a stroke that left him partially paralyzed, several current and former area superintendents and Hoover schools staff presented him with a plaque for his 37 years in education. Later that month, the Hoover Board of Education named its central office building after him: the Farr Administration Building.
A college scholarship administered by the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Jack Farr Scholarship Fund, was established shortly before his death. It is a $1000 renewable scholarship, awarded to one senior each from Homewood, Hoover, and Spain Park High Schools. The first scholarships were awarded in 2006.
In addition to his positions as principal and superintendent, Farr served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Montevallo, the Board of Directors for the Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools (CLAS), and the Board of Directors for the Alabama Association of School Administrators (AASA). On Arbor Day 2005, a Nuttall oak seedling was planted in Aldridge Gardens in his honor.
|Edgewood Elementary Principal
|Homewood High Principal
Robert F. Bumpus
- "Retiring Superintendent Farr Going Home; Veteran Hoover Schools Chief Honored At Hospital" (May 8, 2004) The Birmingham News
- "Hoover Board Honors Farr with Name on Office" (May 25, 2004) The Birmingham News
- "Dr. Theodore Jackson Farr (Jack)" obituary (November 10, 2004) The Birmingham News
- "Arbor Day planting will honor Farr" (February 2, 2005) The Birmingham News