Margaret Delaney

Margaret Delaney

By Jean Simpson, Education Coordinator

The Curator, May 2004

A Celebration of 200 years of Education in Washington Township

Margaret Delaney experienced many of the changes in the Washington Township schools.  She was born in 1912 and lived her whole life on Bigger Road.  The one-room school she attended had nine students when she was in the first grade.  It was necessary for her to walk 1 1/4 miles to school.  When the weather was bad her father or her neighbor would take the children to school in a horse and buggy.  In the seventh and eighth grade she attended the first High School.  When the Washington Township School, grades 1-12 opened in January 1924, she remembers that students picked up their books on a cold, snowy day and walked across Franklin Street to the new school.  While in high school, Margaret played baseball and basketball.  She sang in the chorus, participated in 4-H, and played saxophone in the 32 member band.  There were 22 seniors in her graduating class in 1928.

Margaret wanted to be a nurse, but her doctor said she was too small and not physically strong.  After attending the Dayton Junior Teachers' College she became a teacher as her mother, aunt and grandmother wanted her to do.

In 1930 Margaret was hired to teach fifth grade at the Washington Township School - the same school from which she had graduated two years earlier.  There was one class of each grade level.  As the fifth grade teacher for 26 years, she also taught her class art, physical education and music and supervised them at lunch and recess.  In addition, she obtained her Masters Degree at Miami University.

The Washington Township School's enrollment increased form 534 students in 1950 to 1117 students in 1955.  As a result, John Hole Elementary School was built and Margaret was appointed the principal.  She was the first female to hold that position in the schools.  After 26 years as principal and a total of 52 years in education, she retired in 1982.  Her philosophy regarding children was: "To have a small part in their developmental pattern in learning and their eagerness to be someone has been most gratifying and rewarding."

On a personal note, I began teaching in Preble County in 1960.  Teachers in my rural school were allowed to spend one day visiting a classroom or school.  Another teacher was a friend of Margaret Delaney and wanted to visit her school in Centerville and she invited me to accompany her.  Margaret was very gracious and exciting learning was occurring at John Hole School.  As a result, I decided I wanted to teach in the Washington Township Schools.  In the fall of 1966, I was hired to teach at Tower Heights Middle School.  After six years of teaching in middle schools, I transferred to Driscoll school and taught fifth grade there until I retired in 1995.