Ella Flagg Young (1845-1918), born in Buffalo NY, moved with her family to Chicago where at age 15 she took a teacher examination. She passed but was too young to get a teaching certificate so she enrolled in a formal teacher training program. Once she had her teaching certificate, Young worked as a teacher, then as a teacher trainer, then as a principal.
In 1909 Young and 26 men applied for the position of superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. Despite being highly qualified, her gender was a hurdle. One school board member said, “I only wish Mrs. Young were a man.” Another would not consider a woman for the position “because they are almost invariably influenced by sentiment rather than cold judgment.” Minds changed and on the second vote, Young was selected making her the first woman to head the school system of a major US city. That said, once she began her tenure as superintendent, her progressive ideas were not embraced by the school board. After just four years, Young was forced to resign. Public protests resulted in Young being reinstated as superintendent. She resigned permanently two years later and died in the Flu Pandemic of 1918.
Why this stop? Just like nearly every L stop, there were Chicago Public Schools nearby!
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