The Wright Way

    Our mission is for the UMS-Wright family to educate all students to their highest potential in mind, body, and spirit; and to produce in each student character of the highest possible order. UMS-Wright teachers, administrators, and staff are dedicated to equipping our students with the skills necessary to be successful in life and beneficial to the community.

    History Highlights

    Dr. Wright's goal was an education for the whole person, and that goal remains central today at UMS-Wright. As Dr. Wright once said, "The school, and every auxiliary of the school, must keep in mind that now abideth mind, body, and spirit, these three; but the greatest of these is spirit."

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      At the age of twenty-two, Julius T. Wright opens University Military School for boys with twenty-five students enrolled.

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      The Girls Preparatory School, the predecessor for Julius T. Wright School for Girls, opens by Julius T. Wright

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      Julius T. Wright School for Girls opens a new campus on thirty-two acres on University Boulevard donated by Cabell Outlaw, Jr. (Class of 1937).

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      The two schools were merged to form what is today UMS-Wright Preparatory School. Trustees designated Tony W. Havard as the new headmaster.

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      Mr. Doug G. Barber was appointed as the Head of School. Mr. Barber is a seasoned educator and administrator at UMS-Wright with thirty years of education experience.


    “As a student of UMS-Wright I shall observe at all times the principles of honor and integrity, and in doing so I will not lie, cheat, or engage in any other dishonest act, assist others in the commission of these acts, nor tolerate those who do.”

    Our Story

    University Military School

    UMS-Wright Preparatory School has its foundation in the life of one man—Julius Tutwiler Wright. His goal was an education for the whole person-mental, moral, and physical-intensively tailored to the needs of the individual student. His goal remains central today to the educational philosophy of UMS-Wright. Dr. Wright was the third generation of a family of educators who pioneered much needed improvements in Alabama education. The drive of this twenty-two year old was apparent on the first day of the opening of University Military School on October 2, 1893. That same day Mobile was hit by the most severe hurricane in the city's history, yet the doors opened in the small building at 559 Conti Street anyway. On that fateful day, the school opened with one teacher and twenty-five students, each paying eight dollars a month for tuition. Six years later, enrollment reached almost one hundred students, and for the thirty-eight years that he ran the school, Dr. Wright was the one person responsible for planning and decision-making. There was no board of trustees. It was his decision to set high standards for student behavior. He once said, "The purpose of this school is to produce character of the highest possible order." He felt that "regular and thorough military athletic exercise imparts cleanliness of physical life. The military discipline imparts dignity of character and sustained self-respect." Cadets marched in their gray uniforms to war bond rallies in Bienville Square during WWI and WWII and were a yearly fixture in the city's Armistice Day (now Veterans Day) celebration. Dr. Wright began each day by reading the boys a passage from the Bible followed by a ten- minute sermon. On Monday he would say, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." He was stern and tough, yet he firmly believed that every boy had the ability to succeed. William Pape took over the leadership of UMS after the death of Dr. Wright and led the school through the years of World War II. In 1943 when Pape died, his family turned over operation of the fifty-three year old school to a newly formed, non-profit corporation, the UMS Alumni and Parents Association, Inc. In 1953 the UMS board, having determined that expansion of the school facilities was necessary for school growth, set its sights on the property on North Mobile Street and undertook fundraising for construction of a $1.5 million school facility. The doors of this new building opened in 1956. Enrollment at UMS numbered over five hundred students in 1956. In 1962 the elementary school at UMS became the first elementary school in Alabama accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

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      Girls Preparatory School

      Girls Preparatory School- predecessor for Julius T. Wright School for Girls three decades later- was launched by Julius T. Wright in 1923. A number of prominent Mobilians had approached Wright asking that their daughters be provided the same opportunities their sons were experiencing at UMS, and Wright was personally looking to provide such an opportunity for his only child, Rebecca. Wright purchased the former James McPhillips home at 1315 Dauphin Street as a home for the school. The faculty did not apply for jobs but were chosen by Dr. Wright. The GPS girls wore blue uniforms with starched white collars and cuffs. GPS had a bright but brief span. It closed with the death of its founder. Dr. Wright died in 1931, following a battle with pneumonia.

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      Julius T. Wright School for Girls

      By the time the new $1.5 million UMS facility opened in 1956, an equally ambitious campaign that same year saw the opening of Julius T. Wright for Girls in the renovated building at 1315 Dauphin Street that had housed UMS and originally GPS. Former students of GPS spearheaded this effort to re-establish a preparatory school for the young women of Mobile. When Julius T. Wright opened its doors in 1956, Caldwell Delaney was named headmaster, and Myrtle Boazman who later served as headmistress was named school dean. The school was redecorated, yet by the mid-1960s Julius T. Wright School for Girls faced the same dilemma UMS faced the decade before. The school needed to expand, and it needed a new site. A gift from David R. Coley, Jr. of thirty-two acres on University Boulevard provided the new site. Cabell Outlaw, Jr. (class of 1937) raised $1,500,000 in a capital campaign, and the new Wright campus was ready for classes on August 30, 1972.

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      As the career goals of men and women converged in society, a seemingly inevitable consideration was the combining of Wright School and UMS. A study committee was formed that examined some seventy schools in the southeast that had merged or converted into coeducational schools from 1968-1981. In 1988, the board announced the final decision, and today the enrollment of the combined UMS-Wright School is almost an equal balance between young men and women. To run this newly evolved institution, trustees designated as new headmaster Tony W. Havard, a member of the UMS English faculty. "It is a rare opportunity to be able to serve a school community like the one that exists at UMS-Wright. We are presented with the potential of combining the inspiring traditions of the past with exciting possibilities of the future," said Dr. Havard of the challenge. "I am excited about the growth, pride, and successful atmosphere at UMS-Wright." In 2017, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Doug G. Barber as the Head of School. Mr. Barber is a seasoned educator and administrator at UMS-Wright. Of his twenty-three years’ experience in teaching at the middle and upper school level, twenty-two have come at UMS-Wright. Dr. Wright's goal was an education for the whole person, and that goal remains central today at UMS-Wright. As Dr. Wright once said, "The school, and every auxiliary of the school, must keep in mind that now abideth mind, body, and spirit, these three; but the greatest of these is spirit."

    School Leadership

    Our leaders guide the vision for the future education of our school and our students.

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      "We are UMS-Wright. We produce students committed to their school, friends, families, teachers, and coaches. We have students who will make an impact in our world. Students who understand honor, integrity, compassion, hard work, failure, determination, resilience, and grit. They are equipped to handle all life will force upon them. They will be leaders, innovators, friends, wives, husbands, moms, and dads equipped to lead the next generation in being part of the solution."

      Doug Barber

      Head of School

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      Wes Lathan

      Upper School Principal

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      Jeb Blackerby

      Middle School Principal

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      Aldridge Marks

      Lower School Principal

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      Brent Daugherty

      Director of Technology

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      Kristin Odom, Ed.D.

      Director of College Counseling

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      Meridy Jones

      Director of Counseling

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      Garrett Humphrey

      Director of Campus Safety & Security

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      Lauren Rodgers

      Curriculum & Instruction

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      Bre Stricklin

      Curriculum & Instruction


    Guidance from the leaders within our community.

    UMS-Wright involves leaders from various areas of expertise to ensure that our school is advancing in the best way for our students and families.

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      Ashleigh Cooper Leland


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      Frank J. Lott, III

      Co-Vice Chairman

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      Kristen Beard DeLaney

      Co-Vice Chairman

    Board of Trustees
    • Walsh Lott Arendall

    • Robert C. Baird, III

    • Joel B. Bullard, III

    • Cele Cushing Cameron

    • Angus R. Cooper, III

    • Curran D. Foose

    • Elizabeth Damson Freeman

    • Mara Bronstein Gipson

    • Margaret W. Gleason

    • Alvin K. Hope, II

    • Robert M. Hope, Jr

    • R. Bradford Israel

    • Virginia Stimpson Jeffery

    • Don P. Kelly, Jr.

    • Abby Grodnick Kennedy

    • Allen H. Ladd

    • M. Bancroft McMurphy, III

    • Brooks P. Milling

    • Hilton Billingsley Mostellar

    • P. Bradley Murray

    • W. Davis Pilot, III.

    • Paige B. Plash

    • Benjamin M. Radcliff, Jr.

    • Mikell W. Taylor

    • H. Winchester Thurber, IV

    • Sarah Luce Watkins

    • John F. Weston, Jr.

    “Security is our highest priority on campus, and we take extra precautions to ensure our students have the ability to learn in the safest environment."

    Garrett Humphrey

    Head of Campus Safety & Security


    Experience all that UMS-Wright has to offer by taking a tour of our beautiful campus.

      About UMS-Wright