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Listing Cape's school superintendents

Posted Thursday, July 26, 2012, at 12:00 AM

On occasion, I'll put together lists. Lists of the names of Cape Girardeau fire chiefs, police chiefs, mayors, university presidents, etc. The hard part is making sure you have all the names and their corresponding years of service.

Someone suggested I do the same for Cape Girardeau public school superintendents.

What I found surprised me.

According to a 1924 article, no records existed for school superintendents prior to 1898. (This isn't entirely accurate, as a list published in the Bicentennial Edition in 1976 supplies the names of earlier officials.)

The work of educators has changed over the years, and what we consider now to be the duties of the superintendent were handled by the Cape Girardeau school principal.

Yes, school singular. This apparently referred to the principal of Lorimier School, which taught the white children of the community their numbers and letters. Lincoln School filled that function for black children and in 1898 was under the excellent guidance of John S. Cobb.

What prompted the review of this bit of school history by the newspaper was the resignation of John N. Crocker:

A dozen years as a superintendent in Cape Girardeau is impressive. But topping all others in the position was Louis J. Schultz.

Schultz, who had been a principal at Central High School, was hired as superintendent in 1935 and continued to serve until 1962. Here's a portion of the story about the school board's decision to promote him to head the district:

Here, then, is an updated list of superintendents of Cape Girardeau Public Schools:

F.M. Grove

William G. Provines

D.L. Morrison

James Barkley

J.B. Scott

May I. Hope

J.Q.A. Kimmel

W.T. Carrington

James H. VanAmburgh

A.V. Hamilton

T.E. Joyce

1898-1904 E.E. McCullough (principal)

1904-1906 Fred L. McChesney

1907-1908 C.T. Goodale

1908-1909 A.W. Lawson

1909-1911 John Laidlaw

1911-1913 George H. Reavis

1913-1924 John N. Crocker

1924-1935 J.A. Whiteford

1935-1962 Louis J. Schultz

1962-1975 Charles E. House

1975-1991 Arthur Turner

1991-1996 Neyland G. Clark

1996 Richard Bollwerk (interim)

1996-1999 Dan Tallent

1999-2002 Dan Steska

2002-2004 Mark Bowles

2004-2007 David Scala

2007-2008 Pat Fanger (interim)

2008-present Jim Welker

I'd welcome your suggestions of other historic lists you would like me to research.

In the comments section below, Tony Smee reminded me of a photo he sent me a while back. Written on the front of the picture are these words:"City superintendent and principal of 1st Ward Public School, Cape Girardeau."

Chances are good that this nameless photo is one of the men listed above. We just don't know which one.

If you have any clues to his identity, I hope you'll share them with us.

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

Do you still have the CDV photo I sent you that was identified as a Cape Girardeau superintendent? I still have not been able to identify the individual. CDV's were popular in the 1860's into the early 1870's, so it would have to be one of the earlier superintendents on your list. You may post that photo if you still have it. Maybe it will generate some new information.

-- Posted by Tony_Smee on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 10:21 AM

1935-1962 serving as a superintendent - WOW! That's a long tenure. Perhaps getting someone to stay for a longer period of time would be the answer to many school's problems these days.

Also, I wonder what the average salary was back then for an administrator compared to other professions.

-- Posted by wuzthinking on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 7:37 PM

I don't know about administrators, but I ran across this statistic from 1968 while researching a story.


"Voters were going to be asked to approve a 35-cent tax levy in the April elections. Supt. Charles E. House said that Missouri teacher salaries were below the national average, and that Cape salaries were below the state average. A graduate of State College with a degree in education and no experience could expect a salary of $5,100 in Cape. The median outside the area would be $5,467; the average would be even higher."

-- Posted by Ken1 on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 10:39 AM

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From the Morgue
Sharon Sanders
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The Southeast Missourian's resident historian Sharon K. Sanders blogs about interesting pieces of local history pulled from the newspaper's morgue -- the place where our old editions are kept.