Saxon Profile 2017-11-03T21:11:15+00:00


Perhaps his opponents should have checked his history before picking a fight with him…

Saxon’s profile had gone unchecked by his opponents who were found mainly in the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) and schools of education (teacher training). The establishment claimed he wasn’t a “trained teacher” and clearly knew little about mathematics because, one said, his simplistic textbook material could be “learned by monkeys.” It is doubtful that any math education teacher has ever brought more to the table of “real life” math experiences than John Saxon. To say he didn’t know how to teach because he hadn’t attended a school of education also showed their narrow view of teacher teaching. He was stunned by the lack of knowledge in mathematics among so many elementary teachers. His books, he said, were therefore written to help adults and students understand historically proven and used mathematics principles and concepts.

Born Dec. 10, 1923, Moultrie, Georgia;

FIRST CAREER: Military/Educational Background

World War II trained pilot, 1943-44;

graduate of West Point Military Academy, degree in engineering, 1949;

flight instructor, Vance Air Force Base, 1950;

Korean War bomber pilot, awarded Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross for “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight” (June 13, 1952: Flying B-26 in night attack in mountainous conditions at low altitude; scored 36 direct hits on 60 supply vehicles headed for the enemy’s front lines.)

Wright-Patterson Institute of Technology, completed graduate program in aeronautical engineering, 1953;  test pilot, Edwards Air Force Base;

University of Oklahoma, master’s degree, electrical engineering, 1963;

instructor, U.S. Air Force Academy;



Retired as lieutenant colonel, 1970; began teaching algebra night classes at Rose State Junior College, OK;

following student request, developed worksheets for poorly prepared math students that showed step-by-step solutions to problem solving;

ultimately developed a manuscript;

printed two mimeographed volumes of “incremental algebra” in college print shop for students;

authored Algebra: An Incremental Approach, Vols. 1 and 2 for junior colleges, Prentice-Hall Publishing, 1976-77; field tested a modified manuscript in 20 Oklahoma public schools (middle schools and high schools), 1980-81;

THIRD CAREER: Author/Publisher

Established Grassdale Publishing in Norman, OK, when six New York publishers turned him down;

published Saxon Algebra 1 textbook, 1981;

authored and published Algebra ½ (pre-algebra), 1983;

authored and published Advanced Math, 1983;

Changed company name to Saxon Publishing, 1986;

company earnings now at $5 million;

published Saxon Math textbooks authored by Stephen Hake for grades 5, 6, 7, 8, 1987-1991;

co-authored with Frank Wang and published Calculus textbook, 1988;

published K-3 Saxon Math series by Nancy Larson, 1993;

authored and published Physics textbook, 1993;

published Saxon Phonics K-2 by Lorna Simmons, 1995;

Died Oct. 17, 1996, Norman, OK.


Additional texts published, 1998-2004: phonics, spelling, reading, and special education adaptations for math.

Company sold: Harcourt Achieve Publishing, 2004; media reported sale of “around $100 million”; Harcourt Achieve became part of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing, 2007.

Saxon Publishing authors maintained control over their copyrighted material when the company was sold. NONE of their content is “aligned” inside the books’ covers with Common Core standards. The publisher does offer supplemental materials that Saxon teachers can use, if they so choose.