MARRS, STARLIN MARION NEWBERRY (1862 ~ 1932). S. M. N. Marrs, educator, was born on January 2, 1862, in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia, to Francis Marion and Catherine Lloyd (Paddleford) Marrs. He graduated with a B.S. from the National Normal University in Lebanon, Ohio, and moved to Texas in the early 1880s. In 1885, after teaching for several years, Marrs became superintendent of public schools in Stephenville. He subsequently held the same position in Hamilton (1888-90), Cleburne (1890-93), and Terrell (1893-98). He was chief clerk at the Texas State Department of Education in 1898-99 and then superintendent of schools at Terrell again until 1919. He moved to Austin in 1919 as chief supervisor for the state's high schools, and from 1921 to 1923 he served there as first assistant state superintendent. He was then elected state superintendent of public instruction, a post he held from 1923 until his death in 1932. He also served on the state board of examiners from 1905 to 1910.
He was remembered as a champion of rural and financially weak school districts. He argued that the state should appropriate a sum from its general revenues to be used as an equalization fund for financially disadvantaged school districts. He advocated increased professional training of teachers and prompt payment of their salaries. He also supported school consolidation, the strengthening of county school administration, and the provision of transportation to high school for students who otherwise would be unable to attend. He also promoted the mandatory use of English as the basis of instruction in all public and private schools. This, he thought, would "fortify national unity, promote commercial prosperity, and strengthen individual loyalty."
Marrs was a Democrat and a Baptist. He held memberships in the National Council of Education, the National Educational Association, and the Southwest Political Science Association. He was also a life member of the Texas State Teachers Association and served as its president in 1907. He married Annie Ross Heslep of Hawks Nest, West Virginia, on August 1, 1886. They had four children. Annie died in 1904, and Marrs married Ina Caddell of Denton, Texas, on June 9, 1909. Like Marrs, she was involved in education and educational reform. She was president of the Texas Congress of Parent-Teacher Associations from 1920 to 1924 and in 1928 served as president of the national chapter of that organization. She survived Marrs and died in California in 1960. Marrs died of a heart attack at College Station on April 18, 1932, and was buried in the State Cemetery in Austin.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: S. M. N. Marrs, Educational Miscellany (Terrell, Texas: Reeves Brothers, 1909). Vertical Files, Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin. Who's Who in America, 1926-27.
Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "MARRS, STARLIN MARION NEWBERRY," http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/MM/fma51.html (accessed September 9, 2005).