Shelton Philips was born in Livingston, Ala., February 1864. His father was a Methodist minister of the Alabama Conference and for many years served as presiding elder. The Rev. Elisha Philips was a man of rare and striking ability and a man of great piety. He was also noted for his erudition and qualities as a teacher, he having found district high schools in different portions of the country, including that in Marianna in 1865.
Reuben Philips, the grandfather, too, was a teacher and preacher of exceptional qualities and started the first female seminary in Alabama. This man was known for his uncompromising speech against evil and wrong doers, and attracted the notice of prominent men.
Senator Morgan of Alabama said, that Reuben Philips was a remarkable man and one of the best organizers he had ever known.
It thus happens that the proclivities for educational work found in the subject of this sketch, comes to him through a long line of honored ministers and teachers and it is no wonder that when Shelton Philips was elected to office of county superintendent of Levy county, he applied himself to the work of organizing the schools of that county upon a basis that has made him and his schools noticed throughout the state. Levy county was one of the first counties in the state that graded her schools, and was the first county to employ Professor J. M. Guilliams in a county normal, in 1889.
Superintendent Philips has placed the schools of Levy county upon an enduring basis by his plan of grading and by leaving off much of the superfluities of courses of study. This system of grading is not alone for the town and city schools, but extends to all schools white and colored, of the county, and by it very child in the county is put upon the same footing and is subject to the same requirements.
Mr. Shelton Philips was first elected to office of county superintendent in 1888, at the age of 24. He has been serving since then in the same position, and was re-elected for the fourth time in the fall of 1900, by a good majority of votes, and in the face of the facts he had two of the most popular teachers of the county, against him. But Levy county people believe in good officers and know it when they have them.
Mr. Philips has been associated with the Florida State Teachers Association since its organization and has been active in its work. Last year he was nominated to the place of chairman of the executive committee and has had the responsibility of making this present meeting of the association a success.
Mr. Philips has labored faithfully and unceasingly for this association, and whatever be the result, we know that he has done a noble part and his determined and useful labors are worthy of the kind and grateful consideration of the association.
Mr. Philips is a pleasant and affable gentleman, whom it is always a pleasure to meet.
Source: Ocala Evening Star: 12-28-1901
Transcribed, Formatted and Submitted by Linda Flowers