In 1930 Montgomery County, in conjunction with Austin Peay Normal School, entered into an experimental practice teaching program. The purpose of this program was to provide cooperative training and experience for those interested in becoming educators. New Providence, now known as Byrns Darden, was staffed with three classroom teachers, and a teacher/principal. Dr. D. Harley Fite was appointed teacher/principal by P.P. Claxton, then president of Austin Peay, and Superintendent N.L. Carney of the Montgomery County School System.
Due to the destruction of Byrns L. Darden’s original structure by fire in 1948, Austin Peay and Montgomery County entered into a new contract. President Halbert Harvill and Superintendent N.L. Carney signed a contract in 1949. The contract stated the county would provide the physical plant and utilities as well as supply additional funds for other instructional materials.
A new brick structure was erected housing eight classrooms, an office, and cafeteria. In compliance with the agreement, Dr. Byrns L. Darden, a graduate of Ohio State University, was employed to develop a community school and serve as Professor of Education at Austin Peay State College. He and his educator wife, Anna Belle, lived on the site of Byrns L. Darden in a small frame house. Eight teachers were hired as assistant professors of education. Their jobs were to provide daily training and demonstrations for student teachers and to instruct late afternoon and Saturday classes at Austin Peay.
In 1959, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to change the name of the school from New Providence Elementary School to the Byrns L. Darden Demonstration School. In 1966, Byrns L. Darden became a part of the Clarksville-Montgomery county Unified School system. It was the first of the former county schools to receive Southern Association Accreditation under the leadership of Principal, Anna Belle Darden.
As the community grew, the student enrollment increased requiring building additions in 1951, 1953, 1956, 1959, 1991, and 2007. These additions relocated classrooms and in the 1990-91 school year, the plant was renovated. With the additions of several new elementary schools in Montgomery County, and the state legislature’s funding the Better Education Program (BEP), pupil-teacher ratios have met BEP standards.