Edmund Lieck was a true educational pioneer who helped establish the roots and traditions of Northside ISD long before the District was created.
Edmund Lieck was born in Heinsberg, Germany in 1845. He was one of 11 children of Gottfried and Sofia Lieck. He grew up in a house where education was valued, and he learned to speak three languages: English, German, and Spanish.
Edmund Lieck and his family immigrated to the United States when he was still a child. He and two younger brothers served in the Texas Cavalry during the Civil War, and all three survived and settled in San Antonio.
Lieck married San Antonio resident Catherine Gembler in 1874, and the couple had seven children. In 1880, Lieck purchased ranch land west of San Antonio, just south of what are now Potranco and Talley roads.
Wanting to educate his children, as well as the children who lived nearby, Lieck and his neighbors built a one-room school house on the ranch property. They called it the Lockhart School, named for a nearby spring. The school contained 25 home-made desks and a black potbelly stove to keep the students warm in the winter. Lanterns were used to light the inside of the school, and families took turns filling the water kegs and providing wood for the stove. The library had just five books.
Lieck was the first teacher at the school and was known as “the professor.” He welcomed all children to the school, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity. Teachers from San Antonio would come to teach at the school, but they would frequently become homesick and leave, and Lieck would fill in until another teacher could be found.
The school also was a gathering place for the community and functioned as a dance hall on Saturday nights, a church on Sunday mornings, and a voting site on election day.
Lieck died in 1907 at the age of 62, but the school continued to be used through the 1940s, when it became one of the original 11 schools to form Northside ISD in 1949.
It’s been more than a century since Edmund Lieck built the Lockhart school, but his legacy - a commitment to education and to serve all children - continues to thrive in his namesake school.