Alexander Kerr Craig: Educator, Civil War Veteran, and US Congressman

Many times talented educators serve their country valiantly, and also distinguish themselves in the political arena. Such is the case with TeacherAppleTN1[1]Alexander Kerr Craig, a teacher from Claysville, Pennsylvania, who is also a Civil War veteran, and was elected to the US House of Representatives.

Alexander was born near Claysville, Pennsylvania, on February 1, 1828. As a young boy, he attended local common schools and was educated by a private tutor. At the age of sixteen, he became a teacher, conducting classes during the winter months and subsequently working as a principal in Claysville public schools. He also studied law.

In February, 1865, after the Civil War broke out, Alexander enlisted in the Eighty-seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry. After the completion of his service, he returned to Claysville, where he resumed his career as an educator by serving as school director and justice of the peace.

Alexander was elected as a Democrat to the 52nd US Congress, where he served until he passed away July 29, 1892, at the age of 64. He is buried in Claysville Cemetery.

Distinguished Educator and Missouri House of Representatives Member Joseph Aull

MemberPhotoMany admirable individuals who serve their communities as politicians have first established themselves in the profession of teaching. Such is the case of Joseph Aull, an exceptional educator from Missouri who was elected four times to his state’s House of Representatives.

Joe Aull was born on July 14, 1948, in Kansas City, Missouri. Following his 1966 graduation from Lexington High School in Lexington, Missouri, he enrolled in Westminster College in Fulton,  Missouri, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1970. Joe then enrolled in Central Missouri State University, where he completed the requirements for his Masters in Education in 1975 and earned certification as an Education Specialist in 1987.

Joe worked diligently as an educator for 34 years in the Lexington and Marshall school districts, serving in a variety of positions including classroom teacher, coach, principal, and school district superintendent. He also served as the president of the Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA).

This accomplished educator was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November, 2004, defeating Republican Kevin Begley. Representative Aull was re-elected when he ran unopposed in 2006, 2008, and 2010. Term limits prevented him from running again in 2012. While in the Missouri House, Joe served on the Joint Committee on Education, and the Committees for Elementary and Secondary Education, Agriculture Policy, Emerging Issues in Animal Agriculture, and Rural Development.

Upon leaving political service, Joseph Aull accepted a position with Wentworth Military Academy and College, a private high school and two-year college, as their high school principal and vice president of academic affairs. The institution is located in Lexington, Missouri. Joe’s father, Bill Aull, graduated from Wentworth in 1935.

Joe Aull and his wife, Candee, are the parents of five children.

Katherine Devereux Blake: Chalkboard Champion, Suffragist, and Peace Activist

Chalkboard champion Katherine Devereux Blake was born in Manhattan, New York, on July 10, 1858. She was the daughter of well-known pioneer suffragist, newspaper correspondent, and novelist Lillie Devereux[5]

Katherine earned her college degree in 1876 from what later became Hunter College. Following her graduation, she began her career as a public school teacher in New York City. In 1894 she was appointed the principal of the Girls Department of Public School 6. This school was renamed the Lillie Devereux School in 1916. Katherine served PS 6 as its principal for 34 years, until her retirement in 1927.

Throughout her career as an educator, Katherine Blake used her influence to champion causes that benefited both teachers and students. She promoted improvements in classroom lighting and sanitation, the reform of school textbooks, and night school for women. In addition, she was actively involved in the National Education Association (NEA). She served on a number of committees that promoted teacher benefits, good relationships between public schools and the NEA, and the election of women to the New York Board of Education. Katherine was one of nineteen teachers selected to accompany Dr. John Dewey on his official visit to Russia in 1928.

Not only was Katherine Blake an outstanding educator, but she was also a journalist, a suffragist, and an active peace activist. During her summer vacations from 1911-1919, she campaigned for women’s suffrage in California, New York, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Connecticut. In New York, she was the leader of nearly 15,000 teachers who worked for women’s suffrage. In the 1915 parade sponsored by the Woman Suffrage Association, Katherine marched at the front of nearly 500 teachers.

Katherine Blake was also an active and outspoken peace activist. She was a member of the Ford Peace Expedition in 1915-1916, and she also served as the New York Chair of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. She was the chief spokesperson for the Disarmament Caravan, which toured 9,000 miles in 1931 to carry a disarmament petition to President Herbert Hoover and to the International Disarmament Conference in Geneva. The petition was comprised of nearly seven million signatures. Katheirne went to Geneva repeatedly to attend the League of Nations Assembly as a newspaper correspondent, and in 1938 she traveled abroad to study refugee problems.

This remarkable woman and chalkboard champion passed away on February 2, 1950, in St. Louis, Missouri.