The current Mason-Rice School was built in 1959 to replace two older schools, the Mason School and the Rice School. The original Mason School, built in 1852 as a combination high school and grammar school and replaced in 1901, was named in 1874 for David Haven Mason, a Newton resident and U.S. District Attorney under President Grant.
The original Rice School was built in 1870 to relieve the serious overcrowding of the Mason School and was originally called the Newton Centre Primary School. In 1886, it was named in memory of Marshall Spring Rice who had served the Town of Newton in many capacities, including Town Clerk for twenty-seven years, until Newton became a City in 1874. Before the Rice School was replaced by the Mason-Rice School, it was the oldest school building in use in the City.
Since its opening in 1959, Mason-Rice School has had five principals. From 1959 to 1965, Ruth Dority was principal; next came Elaine Panaretos, from 1965 to 1971; Eugene Gray headed the school from 1971 to 1982; then Clara Hicks took the helm from 1982 to 1995. Mark Springer led Mason-Rice from the 1995-96 school year until June of 2016, and then Elaine Harold was the interim principal for the 2016-2017 school year. Jacob Bultema was hired in the spring of 2017 to be the current principal at Mason-Rice.