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
Principal Peggy Sinclair-Morris 502-897-1583 
Athletic Director Jessica Belcher 502-897-1583
Boys Track Coach Bo Mullins 502-897-1583
Asst. Boys Track Coach 502-897-1583
Girls Track Coach Crystal Johnson 502-897-1583
Assistant Track Coach 502-897-1583
Head GoalBall Coach – Boys Bo Mullins 502-897-1583
Head GoalBall Coach – Girls Kyrstin Price 502-897-1583
Asst. Goalball Coach Melissa Evers 502-897-1583
Head Wrestling Coach Bo Mullins 502-897-1583
Asst. Wrestling Coach 502-897-1583
Head Cheerleading Coach Crystal Johnson  502-897-1583
Asst. Cheerleading Coach  Melissa Evers  502-897-1583
Head Girls Swim Coach Melissa Evers 502-897-1583
Head Boys Swim Coach Matt Farwell 502-897-1583
Co-Head Swim Coach Sondra Miller 502-897-1583
Head Forensics Coach Jessica Belcher 502-897-1583
Mascot Wildcats
School Colors Red & White