Northwood High School (Maryland)

Northwood High School is a public high school in Kemp Mill, Maryland, United States, with a Silver Spring postal address. It is part of the Montgomery County Public Schools system, and is one of five high schools in the Downcounty Consortium.

Northwood High School
The main entrance to Northwood H.S.


United States
Coordinates39°2′6″N 77°1′25″W / 39.03500°N 77.02361°W / 39.03500; -77.02361
TypePublic high school
Opened1956; 68 years ago (1956)
Closed1985; reopened 2004; 20 years ago (2004)
School districtMontgomery County Public Schools
CEEB code210947
NCES School ID240048001366[1]
PrincipalJonathan L. Garrick
Teaching staff119.20 FTE (2021–22)[1]
Enrollment1,784 (2021–22)[1]
Student to teacher ratio14.97
Color(s)    Red and black
RivalMontgomery Blair High School
NewspaperRed and Black

Northwood originally opened its doors in 1956. The school was closed after 29 years in 1985 due to changing demographics in the area. As the need for additional space for high school students grew in later years, the Montgomery County Public School System reopened Northwood in 2004.



In order to relieve overcrowding in local schools adjacent to major federal installations or defense projects, President Eisenhower signed Title 45 Public Law 81-874 "ASSISTANCE FOR SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION" with $1,500,000 contributed to Montgomery County.[2][3] It was decided to build a new high school along 30 acres on Old Bladensburg Road (later known as University Boulevard) in Silver Spring with planned opening in fall 1956. The two-story brick, tile, and glass rambler cost $1,955,143, with a student capacity of 1425. At its dedication Arthur S. Adams, president of the American Council on Education, described the school as a "Magnificent Building" to a crowd of 1000 visitors.[4] The Northwood area grew prior to construction. The new school became a combination junior/senior high school named Northwood Junior Senior High School with new principal Edward (Ted) A. Bartlett. Principal Bartlett was Harvard educated, a World War II veteran, and the former basketball coach from Winchester High School in Winchester, Massachusetts.[5]

At the start of school in September 1956, there was no working bell system, no mirrors in the bathrooms, no lockers, and no cafeteria. They used whistles to mark the start and end of class periods.[6]

On February 1, 1960, Harold R. Packard replaced Bartlett. Eugene R. Smoley became Principal in 1972. In 1977 Principal Bobby J. Mullis replaced Smoley, and retired at the 1985 closing.[7][8]



The closing of Northwood High School was discussed and voted on 3 times by the Montgomery County School Board starting in 1981 and finally ordered closed in a contested decision that aimed to alleviate the concentration of minorities enrolling at Montgomery Blair High School.[9][10] A nonprofit group, Northwood Community Solidarity Inc, was established to fight the closure.[11] After the closing, school trophies were given to students, and alumni. The varsity uniforms were sold to students for $1. The Northwood Indian headdress was donated to Wheaton Library for display.[12]

From 1987 to 2004, Northwood was used to hold students from other high schools during renovations. The school was re-opened in 2004 due to increasing population. During its original run, the school's mascot was the Indians. A September 2001 vote by the Board of Education banned ethnic and race-based team mascots at county schools. Students in the first class and Alumni from the 1958 first graduating class chose the Gladiators as the new mascot.[13]



Prior to the reopening the funds saved by the Northwood Community Solidarity for 20 years, $8,500, was donated to Northwood in memory of the late Bobby Mullis.[8]

2008 was the first year since the school reopened in which there were all four classes. The school had approximately 1,400 students. This size has moved it from a division 2A school in Maryland High School athletics, to a division 3A school for the 2009–10 school year.[14]

As of the 2019–20 school year, Northwood High School boasts over 1800 students[15] from diverse backgrounds.



As of 2018, Northwood students participate in 45 teams across 18 sports for the fall, winter, and spring seasons. Students play on both varsity and junior varsity levels and hosted girls', boys', and co-ed teams. Sports include baseball, basketball, bocce, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, lacrosse, pom pom, racquetball, side cheer, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track, volleyball, and wrestling.

Prior to closing in 1985, Northwood had a number of division, county, regional, and state championships in a variety of sports. Don Greenberg was an all county member of the football and baseball teams during the 1973 and 1974 seasons which are often referred to as the "glory years" of Northwood athletics. In 1975 Coach Brady Straub led the baseball Team to the Maryland State Championship.[citation needed]

School facilities


The school is located at the northeast corner of University Boulevard West and Arcola Avenue in Silver Spring, Maryland. The school's architect, William N. Denton Jr., designed a classic H-shaped structure.[16] The original school opened with 55 classrooms, 11 administrative offices, a large gym, and 108 seat library and cafeteria seating 456.[4] Before the end of the first year, plans were made to add an additional 14 new classrooms.[4] Northwood has a recently remodeled multipurpose stadium where their football, soccer, track and lacrosse teams play, named after former Northwood Technology Education, (mostly Electronics) teacher David Kaplan who became an activist lobbying to keep the school open in 1985.[17] The athletic area of Northwood also includes two baseball fields, a track, and a concessions area to the left of the main stands of Kaplan Stadium. The school has a Media Center that mainly serves as a library. There is also a band room, alternate music room, a full wellness center, and a film room that is the location of Northwood's television and radio station, WNHS.

To address crowding in the Downcounty Consortium, an addition and facility upgrades are planned for the high school. This expansion includes additional classrooms, reconfiguration of existing spaces and upgrades to building systems. It will bring the total student capacity to 2,700 students, an increase of 1,200 seats. During the upgrade, the school will operate out of the campus of Charles W. Woodward High School. This upgrade is scheduled to be completed by Summer of 2027.[18]



During the early 1970s, WNHS was a low-power AM radio station, used for broadcasting home football games. WNHS became the television and radio station at Northwood high school.[19] Unique throughout the county to Northwood High School, WNHS performs a live news show broadcast to students and faculty for the first twenty minutes of every school day. The program also covers sporting and school-wide events, such as graduation and prom. Shortly after reopening, the program entered and won awards in video competitions.

Notable alumni



  1. ^ a b c "Search for Public Schools - Northwood High School (240048001366)". National Center for Education Statistics. Institute of Education Sciences. Retrieved January 31, 2024.
  2. ^ Emery, Fred J. (1976). The Code of Federal Regulations of the United States of America. US Government: The Office of the Federal Registrar National Archives and Records Service GSA. p. 208.
  3. ^ "U.S. Earmarks $6 For Nearby School Needs". The Washington Post. May 5, 1955.
  4. ^ a b c "School, Just Dedicated, Is Outgrown: 14-Room Addition Is Contemplated for New Northwood High". The Washington Post and Time Herald. February 25, 1957.
  5. ^ Jones, Gene B. (June 9, 1957). "Coach-Turned-Principal Leads Burgeoning Northwood High". The Washington Post.
  6. ^ zibart, Eve (June 17, 1985). "Alumni Remember a Place That Was Ordinary and Great: 'Everybody Knew Everybody Else' at Northwood". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ "Mr. Bobby Mullis". The Augusta Chronicle. December 31, 1998.
  8. ^ a b Uy, Erin (May 26, 2004). "Northwood High will reopen with decades-old donation". The Gazette. Retrieved February 17, 2013.
  9. ^ Mcllallaster, Elizabeth (April 27, 1985). "Problem Seen In Northwood High Closing: Problem Seen in Closing of Northwood High". The Washington Post.
  10. ^ Spolar, Chris (February 27, 1985). "School Board Urged To Save Northwood: Crowd Protests Closing Angry Crowd Asks Board to Save Northwood". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ Spolare, Chris (March 6, 1985). "Northwood Backers Vow Fight: Will Appeal Closing". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ Girard, Keith F. (June 17, 1985). "Other County High Schools Prepare to Absorb Students: School Closing Will Have Wide County Impact". The Washington Post.
  13. ^ Purtill, Corinne (6 August 2003). "Re-creating Northwood High School's student spirit". Gazette Newspaper.
  14. ^ "School Zone". The Carrol County Times. January 30, 2013.
  15. ^ [bare URL PDF]
  16. ^ "Montgomery Finishes 4 Buildings". The Washington Post and Times-Herald. August 26, 1956.
  17. ^ Kaplan, David. "Northwood class of 1976 web site". David Kaplan. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  18. ^ "Northwood HS Addition / Facility Upgrades". Montgomery County MD Government Office of Management and Budget. Retrieved November 12, 2020.
  19. ^ "Live from Northwood, it's WNHS". Retrieved 2013-02-16.
  20. ^ Dalsheim, Hannah (September 23, 2019). "Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Other Montgomery County Natives Nominated for Emmys". Montgomery Community Media.
  21. ^ Simms, Brandy L. (December 18, 2014). "Northwood needs coach". Montgomery County Sentinel.
  22. ^ Hoyt, Clark (2022-07-30). "Jerry Ceppos, former top editor of The Mercury News, dead at 75". The Mercury news. Retrieved 2024-01-23.
  23. ^ Kurtz, Howard (March 28, 1999). "Out There". The Washington Post. p. F1.
  24. ^ "That's me in the picture: Jan Rose Kasmir at an anti-Vietnam war rally at the Pentagon, in 1967", The Guardian, 7 November 2014
  25. ^ "Annie Leibovitz Career Timeline". American Masters. WNET. January 3, 2007. Retrieved February 2, 2014. 1964: Attends Northwood High School in Silver Spring, Maryland
  26. ^ Beckett, Nellie (October 3, 2008). "The outlaw George Pelecanos". Silver Chips – via
  27. ^ Yasui, Todd Allan (April 9, 1990). "Blasts from Her Past". The Washington Post. p. C7.