Governor Morehead School (GMS) is the flagship school in North Carolina that serves the special needs of visually impaired students, in a unique residential setting. The innovativeness of the Governor Morehead School extends back to its roots. When the school was established in 1845, it was the eighth school for the blind in the United States. Equally impressive is that North Carolina was the first state to serve the African-American blind and deaf population, beginning just four years after the Civil War. The school moved to the current location on Ashe Avenue in Raleigh in 1923 and was renamed in 1964, in honor of former Governor John Motley Morehead. African-American students attended school at the Garner Road campus until an exchange of students began in 1967, with full integration being achieved in 1977.
The school provided services to children from 5 to 21 years of age until 1987, at which time the Governor Morehead Preschool program extended the services to children, ages birth through 4 years of age, throughout the state. In the past decade, the school's role has expanded to serve school aged children in their home communities. Through the outreach program, initiated in 1993, local education agencies across the state can refer visually impaired students to the GMS. These specialized services, per local school system request, are provided in the child's local school system. Services were made available to students for whom their local school systems determined the need for short term training in the expanded core curriculum in 1996. This training is variable in length (typically 1-2 weeks) and provided on the GMS campus.
Apart from its flagship status as the only residential school in the state for visually impaired students, GMS is renowned for its excellent program in Orientation and Mobility as well as its Braille Music program. Over the years, many GMS staff members have gone on to serve at the State Department level or assume leadership positions in local school systems.