Kentucky School for the Blind

Originally named the Kentucky Institution for the Education of the Blind, the Kentucky School for the Blind (KSB) was the third state-supported school for the blind established in the United States. The school’s founder was Bryce McLellan Patten who began teaching a class of six blind students in the summer of 1839. Patten became interested in the education of blind children because his brother, Otis Patten, was visually impaired and a student of Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, noted pioneer in the education of the visually impaired.

Bryce Patten invited his brother Otis to teach at the institute in Louisville. In early 1841, in an effort to attain funding for a school for the blind, Otis Patten presented an exhibition of his blind students’ skills before the Kentucky General Assembly. Unfortunately, funding was not granted.

Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe of the Massachusetts Institute for the Blind often traveled with his students to promote the education of blind children. The Patten brothers invited Dr. Howe and his students to Kentucky to make a presentation to the Kentucky Legislature. On February 5, 1842, the Kentucky Institution for the Blind was chartered with an appropriation of $10,000. The school opened in May, 1842, on Sixth Street in downtown Louisville. Bryce Patten was the unpaid director and maintained the school; Otis Patten was the teacher.

In less than a year, the school outgrew its building. After outgrowing several buildings in the area, a permanent school home was built on Broadway Avenue in 1845. This building burned in 1851 and the decision was made to move the school out of the city. A tract of land known as the Frankfort Turnpike Road (now Frankfort Avenue) was purchased and a new school was built on it in 1855. In 1967, that building was razed to make way for a modern facility that would better serve students with visual impairments.

Bryce Patten, superintendent from 1842-1871; Benjamin B. Huntoon, superintendent from 1871-1912; and Susan Buckingham Merwin, who served from 1912-1923, were nationally recognized leaders in education for blind people. These three first superintendents also served as the first executive directors of the American Printing House for the Blind. Miss Merwin was the second woman to head a U.S. school for the blind.

Today, KSB continues to help students who are blind and visually impaired develop their talents, their skills, and attitudes to become confident, competent, and independent adults. After graduation, many students go on to college or technical training schools; others go immediately into full-time jobs. KSB graduates are radio broadcasters, lawyers, and teachers, and are working in florist shops, hospitals, restaurants, auto body shops, etc. KSB graduates are everywhere!

Contact Information

1867 Frankfort Avenue
Louisville, KY 40206
Phone: 502-897-1583 Fax: 502-897-2994

Title Name Phone Email
Superintendent Stephen F. Pruitt, Ph.D. 502-564-3141
Principal Jackie Williams 502-897-1583 x0201
Athletic Director Kyle Sochia 502-897-1583 x5102
Boys Track Coach Bo Mullins 502-897-1583 x7212
Girls Track Coach Crystal Johnson 502-897-1583 x5102
Assistant Track Coach Melissa Fischer 502-897-1583 x7319
Head Wrestling Coach Bo Mullins 502-897-1583 x7212
Asst. Wrestling Coach
Head Cheerleading Coach Crystal Johnson  502-897-1583×5102
Asst. Cheerleading Coach
Head Swim Coach Crystal Johnson 502-897-1583 x5102
Asst. Swim Coach Jonathon McCarty
Head Forensics Coach Melissa Gatewood
Jess Belcher
Head GoalBall Coach Bo Mullins
Kyrstin Price
502-897-1583 x7209
502-897-1583 x7314
Asst. GoalBall Coach Jess Belcher 502-897-1583
Mascot Wildcats
School Colors Red & White