Professor Edward Stephens who served as the first principle of Catholic Hill School was a native of the British West Indies, and was brought to Asheville by Mr. George Washington Vanderbilt in the early 1890s for the purpose of serving as the first secretary of the YMI which Mr. Vanderbilt had built, furnished, and was ready to open for the purpose of serving the black men and boys of Asheville.
Mr. Stephens was appointed principal of Catholic Hill School by William F. Randolph who was the first secretary of the first school board of the city of Asheville. This action took place of June 4, 1891. During the time Mr. Stephens was principle of Catholic Hill School, he was also helping Mr. Vanderbilt make plans for the YMI building.
Professor Stephens served as principal of Catholic Hill School until he was replaced by Professor Edward H. Lipscombe of Raleigh, N.C. Professor Stephens then went to work for Mr. Vanderbilt as secretary of the YMI. The program was very successful under his direction and leadership. Mr. Stephens had been educated in England, and was well prepared for the work he was doing, and was well liked by his peers. He was followed as secretary for the YMI by a Mr. John Love of Asheville.
After Mr. Stephens left the YMI program, he continued to live in Asheville, and was involved in a number of projects for the upbuilding of black life in Asheville and Buncombe County. He left Asheville without saying where he was going or what he had in mind for the future. No one actually knows what happened to him.