Mildred Wakeley

(1903 – 1981)

Wakeley_Principal

 

Early Life (1903-1927): Mildred Anna Wakeley was born February 3, 1903 in Trumbull, Connecticut to Miles Bradley and Jennie Wakeley. Wakeley is a descendent of some of the earliest settlers of Connecticut. She attended Bridgeport Central High School and moved onto the State Normal Training School in New Haven, Connecticut (now SCSU), where she graduated in 1922, with her teaching certificate. After she graduated she became a classroom teacher at Nichols School in Trumbull from 1922 to 1924. During her time there, she also studied through New York University. She was also an undergraduate at the New Britain Teachers College (now CCSU) in History and Social Studies. Between 1925 and 1927 Wakeley served as a teaching principal in Trumbull.

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Mildred as a young girl.

Moving to North Haven (1927-1943): In 1927, Wakeley was transferred to the North Haven School System as a teaching principal. She worked at Center Elementary School until 1943. In 1930, working with the Parent Teacher Association, Works Progress Administration, and the Department of School Lunches, Wakeley introduced the concept of hot lunch. This led to North Haven having one of the best lunch programs in the state of Connecticut. During her time as a supervising principal, Wakeley was still studying. In 1932, she earned her Degree in Junior High Education from the Teacher’s Certification Bureau in Hartford, Connecticut. She majored in History, minored in English, and free minored in Social Studies. During this time period, aside from teaching, Wakeley was a member of the National Grange. She was awarded both the Patron of Husbandry and Degree of Flora in 1934. She became a Seventh Degree Member of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry and was given this degree by the Assembly of the Priests of Demeter in Hartford during the Annual Session of the National Grange. In 1940, she received her Bachelor of Education Degree from the New Britain Teachers College.

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Wakeley at a May Day Celebration in the 1940s. 
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Wakeley enjoying a snow day.

Supervising Principal and Outside School (1944-1965): In 1944, Wakeley became Supervising Principal of Center Elementary and stayed until 1964. While Wakeley was heavily involved in the school system, she was also involved in many associations and commissions around the area. These include:

  • American Association of School Administrators
  • Connecticut Education Association
  • Connecticut PTA Association
  • Daughters of 1812
  • Eastern Star
  • Elementary School Principals Association of Connecticut (served as president of this association 1957-1958)
  • Mayflower Society of North Haven
  • National Education Association
  • National Grange
  • New England Reading Association
  • North Haven Congregational Church (Member of Building Committee 1955-1957,  Pastoral Committee 1957-1958, Religious Education Committee 1948-1950)
  • North Haven Memorial Library Association (Director 1948-1952, President 1953-1955 When she was president of the Library Association, she worked with the North Haven High School Library to insure a collection of appropriate size and scope.
  • North Haven Park Commission (Secretary: 1944-1948, where she organized their recreation department and playgrounds.)
  • North Haven Public Health Association (Advisory Board Member 1955-1957 and 1964-1965)
  • Zeta Chapter Member of Delta Kappa Gamma.

In 1948, she founded the Parent-Teachers Council. In addition to her work in the schools and her involvement in these myriad associations, she continued her schooling. In 1950, Wakeley acquired her Master of Arts Degree in Administration and Supervision at the University of Connecticut. From 1951 to 1953 she continued with post graduate work at Yale, the University of Connecticut, and New York University. In 1965, Wakeley became principal of Green Acres Elementary School. During this time period, Wakeley was awarded the first “Book of Golden Deeds.” This award was given by the North Haven Exchange Club for her work and dedication to North Haven Education. She also developed a program of  security monitors in schools. This later became the safety patrol.

Wakeley_1

Later Life (1966-1981): By the time Wakeley retired in 1968, her name was synonymous with discipline and respect. Children feared her discipline and wanted to be in her “Honor Club.” Being a strict disciplinarian, her form of correction was physical, such as ruler to the hand. In 1972, First selectman Walter Gawrych renamed the recreation center the Mildred A. Wakeley Recreation and Community Center in her honor. Wakeley passed away in 1981. At her funeral, the Eulogy was given by Mr. Anthony Capiro, then principal of Clintonville Elementary. Wakeley worked unselfishly to better educate the children of North Haven and advance the educational growth of the town. Because of this, her philosophy for education has been firmly established in the school system.


Works consulted:

  • Horowitz, Art. “Miss Wakeley Looks Back On Discipline.” (North Haven), September 5, 1976.
  • Letter to Mildred A. Wakeley. August 16, 1932. Teacher’s Certification Bureau, Hartford, Connecticut. This letter is a statement of matriculation to Wakeley’s Degree in Junior High School Education.
  • “Mildred A. Wakeley Elected Librarian Association Head.” North Haven News-Review, October 30, 1953, 8th ed., sec. 26.
  • Mildred A. Wakeley. Resume, North Haven, Connecticut.
  • “North Haven Principal Honored by PTA.” (North Haven).
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