Kensler Elementary opened in 1959. It was originally part of Country Acres in the Peterson School District. A year later the Wichita School system annexed the school. According to the Wichita Eagle the school cost $303,608 to construct.
But it’s not just the school’s early beginnings that make it so special. The school was named in honor of the remarkable Miss Pearl Kensler, a true trailblazer in education.
Kensler was born on September 21, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas to two of Wichita’s early pioneers, Shelton and Elvira Kensler. Shelton was a cement contractor.
Miss Kensler graduated from Wichita High School and then Friends University in 1918. She also studied at University of Wisconsin and Wichita University.
She taught in Pawnee Rock, Kansas, and Valley Center.
She began teaching for the Wichita Schools in 1926. According to the Eagle, “She was known at the time for her innovative teaching methods, including using hands-on activities and games to engage her students.”
Not only did she teach in the Wichita School system, but she also taught classes at the Wichita Business College and Friends University.
Kensler was a member in several organizations, including the Kansas Association of Elementary School Principals, Trinity Methodist Church, Business and Professional Women’s Club and the Wichita Education Association. She also held lifetime memberships with the NEA and the PTA.
In 1950 she was appointed superintendent by B.W. Truesdale.
She passed away in 1958 at the age of 61.
Her Eagle obituary said she died unexpectedly on June 2, 1957. She was about a month away from retirement. She is interred in Maple Grove’s Abbey.
Over the years improvements were made to the school building including an expanded playground, additional classrooms, larger library, kitchen, and a computer lab.
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