Miss Isa Allene Greene grew up in Bourbon County, Kansas, and in that section taught her first school. Through her work she had become one of Kansas’ noted educators. She had proved herself a real teacher. She possesses the ability, rare as it is in any time or generation and rare even in these modern times when so much emphasis is placed upon it, of vitalizing and inspiring the intellectual activities of those under her charge, and all her work had been characterized by a depth of sympathy and understanding which is more necessary in any rational scheme of education than mere ability to impart knowledge.
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Miss Greene had taught for many years in Kansas and was recently promoted to the great responsibility of superintendent of the School for the Blind, Kansas City, Kansas.
Miss Greene was born in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, at the Town of Smithfield December 29, 1866. She was next to the youngest in a family of ten children. Her parents, Harvey and Nancy (Jaco) Greene, were both natives of Pennsylvania. Her maternal grandfather was of English descent, while her paternal ancestors were Welsh and German. The grandparents came to America about 1800. James H. Greene was a cooper by trade, and also a local minister of the Methodist Church. He and his wife were married and lived continuously in one house in Pennsylvania until all their ten children were born. These children comprised three sons and seven daughters. Five of the daughters taught school at some time, and those living at the present are five daughters and one son: Mrs. Elizabeth Shelley of Independence, Kansas; Mrs. J. B. McClure of Fort Scott, Kansas; Thomas, of Shreveport, Louisiana; Mrs. S. H. Bollinger, of Shreveport; Mrs. A. A. Bollinger, of Wichita, Kansas; Mrs. J. A. Pretz, of Shreveport; and Miss Isa A.
In 1869 the family came out to Kansas and located in Bourbon County. The father for the first year rented a farm in the old Walnut Hill district but subsequently bought 160 acres, and by the addition of eighty acres more, developed a fine farm of 240 acres. He became a successful farmer and through his efforts he provided liberally for his large family of children, giving them all a good home and good education. Mr. Greene also did much good as a local minister, and having a large family of children he took the keenest of interest in the progress and improvement of the schools of his locality. He served on the board of education in his district and in every possible way sought to improve the advantages and influences of the school system. He was the leader in building and supporting the Methodist Church near his home. Both he and his wife were people of the finest character and were loved and held in the highest esteem. He was affectionately known in his section of Kansas either as Father Greene or Parson Greene.
The family were influenced to come to Kansas by Senator Griffin of Fort Scott, who had formerly lived in Pennsylvania. They made the journey to the west by boat and railroad as far as Fort Scott. On the old farm the parents lived from 1871 to 1903 and then moved into the Town of Redfield, where both died in 1907 at the age of seventy-nine, having been born in the same year, 1828. Father Greene was a scholar, though he had had rather meager opportunities when a boy. He was a student and reader and possessed a keen power of observation. He was long active in the republican party in Bourbon County, though personally he had no aspirations for office. He took the greatest of delight in the companionship of his home circle, and his companionship with his children was an influence for which all of them are grateful.
Miss Greene grew up in a country district of Southeastern Kansas and it was her ambition and studious tastes which gave her an education and a power to be of service in the world rather than the opportunities which surrounded her. The first school she taught was at Hyattville in Bourbon County. Another teacher in that school was Guy Potter Benton, now one of the leading educators in America and president of the University of Vermont. Miss Greene had been connected with various schools and institutions, and in 1916 she was called from Pittsburg, Kansas, to her present work as superintendent of the School for the Blind at Kansas City, Kansas. She had been content to let her work speak for itself, and had never actively sought any of the higher promotions which have come to her from time to time. She had been too busy to marry, and expresses her natural affection for children through the pupils of her school. Miss Greene is normally republican in politics, but quite independent in her views. She is a Methodist, and was quite active in the church at Fort Scott. While educators as a rule are not people of property, Miss Greene had shown exceptional ability in a business way, and had a number of paying investments in lumber interests.