KAUKAUNA, Wis.— Stacy Knapp walked the halls of her school with pride, knowing the story of the woman it’s named after.
Knapp is principal of Electa Quinney Elementary, a school named after who she considered a powerful role model for kids, and an education pioneer.
“It makes me really proud because everyone lives it and honors it and is strong in their character and their beliefs and we try to carry that across in all that we do,” Knapp said.
Electa Quinney was a Mohican and member of the Stockbridge-Munsee community. She was born in New York but moved to Wisconsin when it was still part of the Michigan territory in the 1820s. Once in Wisconsin, she opened a school.
Kaukauna Public Library Historian Gavin Schmitt said Quinney made history that day, as her school was Wisconsin’s first public school. That also made her Wisconsin’s first public school teacher.
“She’s an absolutely incredible pioneer in the field of education and that’s something we should all value,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt said Quinney moved away, but returned to Wisconsin. He said her impact on the state was immeasurable and there’s no doubt in his mind she should be celebrated.
“If we can’t honor her for her contributions, I don’t know who we should honor,” he added.