Even before statehood, Michigan was a leader in public education. In 1809 judicial districts created schools and levied taxes to support them. Twenty years later, The Territorial Council divided the districts into school districts and gave the State the right to supervise schools.
Michigan's first constitution created a Superintendent of Public Instruction in 1835. John D. Pierce, a frontier missionary, was Michigan's first superintendent and the first independent administrator of education appointed under a state constitution in the United States. The State Board of Education's current responsibilities were established by the 1963 State Constitution. The leadership legacy continues as Board members lead the way in improving public education through recommendations and actions that have resulted in key legislative changes.