IAGenWeb Project - Allamakee co.

Professor W. L. Peck


Professor W. L. Peck is now engaged in the fourth term of his able service as superintendent of schools of Allamakee county and in this connection is giving the benefit of his broad knowledge and unusual ability to his chosen field of labor, winning for himself recognition as one of the foremost representatives of educational interests of Iowa and taking a vital and active part in the promotion and spread of public education throughout the state. He was born at Ossian, Winneshiek county, August 25, 1872, and is a son of James Peck, whose birth occurred in Oswego county, New York, June 14, 1832. The father grew to manhood in his native locality and there married Miss Lucinda Borst, also a native of the Empire state. They moved west to Iowa in 1862 and located in Winneshiek country, where the father engaged in farming for a number of years. He later moved into Frankville and there lived retired until his death, which occurred April 24, 1902. His wife survives him and makes her home with a son in Frankville.

Professor W. L. Peck was reared in Winneshiek county and acquired his primary education in the public schools. He later attended school in Frankville and spent one year at Lenox College, going from there to the Iowa State Teachers College. After two years in that institution he turned his attention to teaching, following this occupation first in the country schools, where his ability and success won him promotion to the position of principal of the Frankville schools. He did creditable and progressive work in that capacity for five years and then eight years in that responsible office. Upon the expiration of this period he was elected county superintendent of schools of Allamakee county and he has served continuously be reelection since that time, his return of office evidencing the value of his services and their acceptability to the public at large. A brief glance at the record of his career shows plainly his preeminence in both the administrative and more purely scholastic phases of his chosen work. Under his able management he has succeeded in bringing all the schools of the county up to a higher standard of efficiency. This has been accomplished mainly through systematizing the work and by carrying it forward along practical and progressive lines. Professor Peck keeps a complete record of every one of the one hundred and sixty one teachers in the county’s employ and of every pupil in every school in the county, these latter records showing not only the standing of the student but the progress he makes from term to term. Professor Peck pays a visit to each school once a year, thus keeping in personal touch with the teachers and pupils and he has initiated many substantial improvements in the methods of teaching and also in the branches taught. His methods are at all times practical and he inspires the teachers under him with much of his own zeal and enthusiasm.

During the course of his identification with the educational interests of Allamakee county Professor Peck has not confined his attention to the duties which have devolved upon him in his responsible position but has also exerted a potent and helpful influence in promoting general intellectual advancement in this locality. In 1910 he organized the Farmers Institute, which holds a session each year, and he also manages the county spelling contest held annually, when each township sends its most proficient scholar to represent it. He has inaugurated township teachers’ meetings and in his office keeps a well selected professional library for the benefit of his teachers. He has himself taught summer schools and institutes both in Winneshiek and Allamakee counties for the past fifteen years and conducts personally a teachers’ institute in Waukon every year. He never considers his own education complete but remains always a close and earnest student, following out exhaustive courses of study and taking many correspondence courses also. Practically his entire life since attaining his majority has been given over to educational work and he has become a recognized leader in this field.

Professor Peck is a Master Mason and holds membership in the blue lodge at Frankville, where he joined the order. He stands preeminent among Iowa educators, for he combines with a broad, exhaustive and comprehensive knowledge the faculty of imparting it readily and clearly to others and an executive ability upon which he has founded his success in the administrative branches of his work. He gives his political allegiance to the democratic party but has never been a politician in the usually accepted sense of the word. He is, however, never neglectful of the duties of citizenship and his influence has been a tangible force for good in this community.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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