the closure of its heritage school, St. Thomas High School
(also known as St. Thomas Academy) in South Memphis, Bishop
Byrne was founded in 1965. The co-educational high school,
built specifically to serve students in the growing
Whitehaven community, was the dream of Fr. Edwin Cleary,
then pastor of St. Paul Parish. The name commemorated the
Bishop, Thomas Sebastian Byrne who, as administrator, scholar
and builder, gave form to a vision of education that
continues to serve the students and families of Memphis and
surrounding counties in Mississippi and Arkansas.
Thomas Cashin, a priest of the Diocese of Nashville (and a
Memphian) was the first principal of Bishop Byrne. With him
were the Dominican Sisters of the Saint Cecilia congregation
of Nashville, for whom Father Cashin had recently been the
chaplain of their motherhouse in Nashville. These Sisters
also staffed and administered St. Paul Grade School on the
A number of distinguished religious and lay educational
leaders presided over the school in the following years,
with Dr. Donald Edwards, who became principal in 2003,
turning the reins over to Mr. (Coach) Clyde Israel in July
its many distinctions, in 1986 the Program for Academic and
Vocational Education (P.A.V.E.) was implemented for
graduates of Madonna Day School located at St. James Church
in Memphis. Madonna Day School was a special education
school operated in the Diocese of Memphis by the Benedictine
Sisters of Ferdinand, Indiana. This program has since been
discontinued but provided valuable vocational training for
students with challenges.
1990, Bishop Byrne piloted the highly successful middle
school model in the diocese. This model was later added at
Memphis Catholic and Immaculate Conception High Schools and
continues to bring continuity to students as they transition
from middle to high school.
1993, Bishop Byrne Middle and High School became the first
private secondary school to be designated as a Professional
Development School for the University of Memphis. As a
Professional Development School, the faculty of Bishop Byrne
served as clinical professors in the College of Education,
providing pre-service training for future teachers.
2009, University 101 was implemented to ensure integrated
technology in all aspects of Bishop Byrnes academic
program, preparing students to compete in the modern world.
The program involves students and teachers in independent
study and web-based instruction to ensure a successful
transition from secondary school to the university.
Bishop Byrne is staffed by 16 faculty members and 6
administrative and support staff, with an enrollment of 200
students, providing personalized attention and high quality
educational opportunities in a safe structured environment,
ensconced in Christian faith.