by Marcia Napier, Grain Valley Historical Society
For some time now, I have been wanting to write a series of articles about the early educators in Grain Valley. I will be looking for information about not only the classroom teachers, but Board of Education members, superintendents and principals who were responsible for educating the young people of our town.
It will not be easy. I have spent more than a few hours on Ancestry.com, and thus far, I have found limited information, but I won’t give up! The Historical Society has several copies of the photo above. This is thought to be the oldest photograph of students, teachers, and the gentlemen of Grain Valley that made up the school board. The photo was taken around 1900 as my great aunt, Ruth Sanders is one of the young girls seated on the ground. Aunt Ruth was born in 1892.
One of the gentlemen on the back row is Jesse D. Johnson (or David Jesse Johnston), identified as the School Board President. Two photos identified Mr. Johnson, they just don’t agree on which person he is, his exact name or how to spell his name. This makes research all the more difficult.
So bear with me as I attempt to learn about these pioneers in education. Some early superintendents were Ira McGenness (1909), J. E. Carter (1915-1919), Delma L. Webb, 1921 & 1922) and R. H. Boston (1925-1927). Lawrence Dimit was the principal in 1907. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you anything about any of them, YET! School diplomas and certificates are generally the best sources for correct names and spellings,
If you or anyone you know might have information about the early educators, prior to 1930, PLEASE reach out to me.
Photo credit: Grain Valley Historical Society