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Couple Pursues Iowa’s Forgotten Schools
“It started with the movie Hoosiers,” Barb Else said. They visited the old school where Hoosiers was filmed in Indiana. About the same time Dave searched through his archives and found a program from the 1958 Boys’ Basketball Tournament in which their Sibley high school team had participated.
“We noticed that several of the schools that had played in the tournament no longer existed, and the search began,” Dave said. The search culminated in a beautiful book: For All the Small Schools: A Photographic Pursuit of Iowa’s Forgotten Schools
A love for Iowa’s small rural schools set Barb and Dave Else on a journey to find the lost high school buildings that are no longer being used for education. In the latter part of the nineteenth century and into the early 1900s, the Iowa countryside was dotted with one-room kindergarten through eighth grade rural schools. In addition, nearly every town in Iowa had a high school, often just a few miles away. Due to declining enrollment and for purposes of efficiency, many of Iowa’s high schools were closed or merged with other districts beginning as early as the 1940s.
Barb Else established and taught preschools in the Iowa communities of Greene, Holstein and Atlantic. She also taught elementary school reading for twenty years in the Parkersburg and Aplington-Parkersburg School Districts. Dave Else has been a middle school and high school teacher and coach, elementary school principal and superintendent in Iowa school districts and in educational posts at the University of Northern Iowa. He continued his involvement with Iowa Education until retirement in 2014.
In 2015, Barb and Dave celebrated 51 years of marriage.
This book is for sale at The Write Place.