Arrangements were made by the town council to begin classes in the west end of Richlands in October of 1891. J.A. Leslie was appointed principal of the first Richlands High School, an educational program for all grade levels.
Prior to this date, the log building called Jones Chapel was used jointly as a Methodist Church and school. The Cedar Bluff High School, a tuition-based institution on the Tazewell Courthouse-Kentucky Turnpike, was another educational opportunity.
Since the early schools were segregated, George M. Kyd was hired to teach black students in another location. A short time later, plans were formulated to construct a new educational facility. The bid of $4,025.95 earned a building contract for E.M. Noone and A.E. Clark. In 1893, the obligation was transferred to George P. Ager to complete the construction, and on January 12, 1894, the new school opened. The structure was ready for occupancy during the terms of school trustees O.C. Duff, W.P. Boggess, and Patton J. Brown.
In 1917, a boarding emporium was purchased to accommodate teachers. The Teachers’ Club House, as it was known, stood beside the earliest school building and was managed by the principal of the school.
A second building was added to the mid-town site in 1929. The Tornado yearbook of 1929 pictures faculty members Virginia Frazier, Josephine Brown, K.M. "Ernie" Hicks, Mary F. Williams, India Miller, Lora Dingus, and Principal C.R. Six.
Construction of the present high school plant was begun on April 23, 1951, and classes began in the fall of 1953. Classrooms and a library were added to the building in 1969, dedicated to the Misses Margaret and Nell Porter Boggess, former faculty members.
In 1957, the original Ernie Hicks Stadium was dedicated in honor of the "Master of the Clinch," who served as Richlands High School coach for forty-one years. The stadium replaced the football field that was located near the first school complex, used since 1933.
Following Principal Leslie were A.L. Graybeal, S.H. Laird, Mary Spratt, J.D. Thomas, Mrs. Wolfe, William Lewis, "Mag" Williams, Lottie Evans, Ms. Hunter Wells, Roy Horne, Hugh Cassell, Woodrow Robinson, Thomas Stone, William Powers, Thomas Hagy, Jerry Cromer, Brenda Lawson, George Brown a descendent of the original school trustee, Patton J. Brown, and Karen A. Webb. Our current principal is Kim Ringstaff.