Chalkboard Champion Denis Driscoll also served in Congress

There are many instances of talented educators who have also served in political positions. Teacher Denis Joseph Driscoll, a Congressman from New York, is a fine example.

Denis was born in North Lawrence, New York, on March 27, 1871. As a youth, he was enrolled in public schools. He then attended Lawrenceville Academy and then State Teachers College in Potsdam, New York. Upon his college graduation, Denis accepted a position to teach school in Potsdam, where he worked from 1888-1889. He relocated to St. Marys, New York, where he taught from 1890-1891. Denis then served as the Principal of Public Schools in St. Marys, from 1892-1897.

In addition to teaching school, Denis studied law. He passed the bar in 1898. The same day, this patriotic educator enlisted as a private in the Sixteenth Regiment of the Pennsylvania National Guard. He then served in the Spanish American War. When his enlistment expired, Denis campaigned for Congress on the Democratic ticket, and was elected. He served there from 1935-1937. But this dedicated educator’s commitment to the field had not been forgotten. He served as President of the St. Marys School Board from 1911-1936.

Denis passed away on January 18, 1958, at the age of 86. He is interred in St. Marys Catholic Cemetery in St. Marys, New York.

To read more about this chalkboard champion, click on this link to theĀ Biographical Directory of the U.S. Congress.

Teacher and member of Maine’s House of Representatives Stacey K. Guerin

guerskThere are many fine examples of talented teachers who have also excelled in the political arena. One such example is Stacey K. Guerin, an elected member of the House of Representatives for the state of Maine.

Stacey was borne in Kenduskeag, Maine. As a teenager, she attended Central High School in East Corinth, Maine. After she graduated in 1977, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine, and worked for a time as a teacher.

Running on the Republican ticket, Stacey was elected to the House in 2010 representing District 102. As part of her work in the House, she has sponsored a bill to establish a teacher appreciation day, to found an access to justice day, and to require background checks for child care facilities and providers. She also serves as a member of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee and the Judiciary Committee. She is also a member of the Maine School Nutrition Association, the Maine Restaurant Association, and the Greater Banger Area Chamber of Commerce. She has also been active in 4-H.

Stacey currently lives in Glenburg, Maine, with her husband, Joseph, and their five children. The couple owns the RM Flagg Food Service Equipment Company.

Teacher, feminist, and environmental activist Ruth Chickering Clusen

Clusen_9Throughout our history, many accomplished educators have also distinguished themselves as civic leaders and political activists. Such is certainly the case with Ruth Chickering Clusen, a high school teacher who also served as the president of the League of Women Voters and as an assistant secretary in the US Energy Department.

Ruth Chickering was born in 1922 in the little town of Bruce, Rusk County, Wisconsin. Upon her high school graduation from Eau Claire, she enrolled at the University of Wisconsin, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education. Even before graduating from college, Ruth was working as a teacher. She spent her first two years teaching on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation in Montana, and she taught in public schools in the Green Bay area from 1947 to 1958.

Ruth met her future husband, Donald Clusen, when he was interviewed by her father for a teaching position at the old Wisconsin School for Boys in Waukesha County.They married a few years later, and settled with their two daughters in Green Bay, where Donald had accepted a position as a teacher at the state reformatory.

Ruth served as the president of the League of Woman Voters. She served in this capacity from 1974 to 1978. During those years, Ruth worked to bring environmental issues to national attention. She was especially concerned with water purity, particularly the condition of Green Bay, where water pollution was pervasive. Ruth also campaigned for women’s rights, working tirelessly but unsuccessfully to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. During the election year, she moderated debates between candidates Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford.

Once Carter was elected president, he appointed Ruth Assistant Secretary of Energy, a position she held from 1978 to 1981. There she worked to reduced fossil fuel consumption at the Energy Department. For her efforts, Ruth was inducted into the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame in 2001.

After leaving the Energy Department, Ruth returned to her roots as an educator. She became a member of the Board of Regents for the University of Wisconsin, where she worked from 1983 to 1992.

This chalkboard champion passed away March 14, 2005, in Bellevue, Wisconsin, from complications due to Alzheimer’s Disease. She was 82 years old.


Leo Elthon: The Iowa teacher elected Governor of Iowa

Leo_ElthonThroughout history, there are many instances where talented teachers have gone on to successful careers in politics. One such example is Leo Elthon, an Iowa educator who became the 32nd governor of his state.

Leo Elthon was born on June 9, 1898, in Fertile, Iowa. As a child, he attended schools in Fertile. He graduated from Fertile High School. Following his graduation in 1917, Leo enrolled first at Augsburg Seminary in Minneapolis, then at Iowa State Teacher’s College in Cedar Falls, and finally at Hamilton College of Commerce in Mason City, Iowa.

After his college graduation, Leo taught manual training and athletics for two years at Clear Lake. In 1920, he accepted a position as principal at Fertile High School. Two years later, he married his sweetheart Synneva Hjelmeland. The couple established a farm and enlarged their family to include six children, two sons and four daughters. During this time, Leo became active in local civic affairs, serving as the president of the local school board and the director of the Fertile Township Farm Bureau.

In 1932, this talented educator was elected to the Iowa Senate on the Republican ticket. He served more than twenty years there until he was elected the lieutenant governor of Iowa in 1953. Upon the unexpected death of Governor William S. Beardsley due to a car accident on November 21, 1954, Leo was sworn in as governor of his state and served in that capacity until January 13, 1955.

During his tenure in politics, this dedicated educator campaigned for additional state school aid, a revision of school reorganization laws, enhanced highway safety, and increased unemployment insurance and workers’ compensation.

This chalkboard champion suffered a heart attack in 1964 which left him in poor health. He passed away on April 16, 1967, and is interred at Brush Point Cemetery in Fertile, Iowa.

Casey Shreiner: The middle school teacher elected to Montana’s State House of Representatives

15243Throughout American history, there are many examples of successful schoolteachers entering the field of politics. One such example is Casey Shreiner, a middle school science teacher who is currently serving as a member of the Montana State House of Representatives.

Casey was born in Great Falls, Montana, on July 10, 1982. He earned his college diploma from Montana State University located in the city of Bozeman. Upon graduation, Casey accepted a position as a science educator at Butte Central Catholic Schools, where he was employed from August, 2008, to August, 2010. Next, the talented teacher accepted a position with Great Falls Public Schools, where he worked from August, 2010, until June, 2013.

Casey was elected on the Democratic ticket to the Montana State House of Representatives representing the 22nd District. Upon his election, the former educator sponsored eleven bills, including legislation to revise truancy laws, to establish a pilot project for Native American and rural youth suicide prevention, to protect voting rights for disabled citizens, and to appropriate money for a state-run mental health group home. He has also served as the director of the governor’s State Workforce Innovation Board within the Montana State Department of Labor and Industry.

Casey is married and has two sons.