Huntington, WV Black History

Jack H. Housen


Jack H. Housen was a Huntington native who went on to be a longtime educator across the country.

Housen was a 1939 graduate of Douglass High School, where he lettered in basketball and football. He was named to the West Virginia All-State Negro team in both basketball and football. As a quarterback for West Virginia State, he received honorable mention All-American by the Pittsburgh Courier in 1940 and 1942 and second team All-American by the Chicago Defender in 1940 and All-American in 1942. He would eventually be inducted into the West Virginia State Sports Hall of Fame in 1987.

In 1943, Housen was called to active duty along with other members of West Virginia State’s first R.O.T.C. unit and was one of the members to receive a commission during World War II.

Housen returned from military service and worked at International Nickel in Huntington. In 1948, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree from West Virginia State, followed by a master’s degree in education from Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

His teaching career included stops at Robinson Junior High School in Toledo, Ohio; Fontana Junior High School in Fontana, California (where he also coached); and State Teachers College Elizabeth City, North Carolina. In the Pomona Unified District in California, Housen served as an administrator for 25 years. In the District, he served as assistant principal in Marshall Junior High School and Alder Junior High and as principal at Ganesha High School, Marshall and Lorbeer Junior High School.

While at Lorbeer, Housen helped launch a math tutoring program that was developed at Stanford University. In the following three years, students went to the state finals in the Geography Bee and the Los Angeles County Science Fair and won first place in a Cinco de Mayo Essay Contest sponsored by the University of Southern California. Additionally, student achievement increased 18% in reading and writing and 15% in math between 1987 and 1990 during his tenure. That placed Lorbeer above the state average and at the top of the school district.

Housen was a member of the NAACP; National Association of Secondary School Principals; Association of Supervisors and Curriculums and Development; and was listed in “Who’s Who of American Educators.”

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