Archive for Thursday, January 24, 2008

Who was Drusie Coffin?

January 24, 2008

There was only one superintendent of schools in Leavenworth County in the 1930's, 40s and 50s. On July 22, 1939, Drusilla Coffin became superintendent of the Leavenworth County Schools. She was affectionately known as "Drusie" Coffin, and when she made annual visits to our school we were all in awe of her. She was definitely in charge. She held this position for 18 years. During this time the consolidation of schools took place.

When she started, there were 64 one-teacher grade schools in the county and there were 12 with two or more teachers, plus six rural high schools and 10 parochial schools.

When she retired in about 1957, there were 17 rural schools and 15 grade schools, six high schools and six parochial schools. These changes were due mostly to changes in the state laws.

Each year we had to take the Stanford Achievement Tests that she administered. It was so important for us to pass this test because our eighth-grade teacher drilled in us that if we did not pass we could not go on to high school.

Drusie was born April 28, 1879, at Carmel, Ind. In 1882 her family moved to Springdale, a settlement of Quakers west of Leavenworth. Most of her schooling was done at Centennial No. 76 in Springdale. She went on to the Tonganoxie Academy and she passed her teacher's exam there. Her first teaching job was from 1899 to 1900 at Bell School on Kansas Highway 92. Other places she taught were at Loring for three years, Centennial for nine years and was principal for 15 years at Linwood.

In her autobiography she mentioned having icicles on the last day of school when she was in the fourth or fifth grade. The main reason for that was that the rural schools back then were six months long and the last day of school would be the last day of March.

She died in Leavenworth in 1976 at the age of 96.

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