In this time of year when we are starting to focus on gratitude, I have been feeling particularly thankful for teachers and school staff, now and in times past. 

That is why I was particularly inspired when discovering a packet of unlabeled school staff photos from the 1968-69 school year in the Willamette Heritage Center’s collections last week to find a way to put names to the faces. Maybe you can help? 

We have a school staff directory from this year which provides the names of the staff from each of the schools photographed. But the photos themselves are not marked beyond the year and the school, so there is no way to tell who is who in the image.  

Did you work at or know anybody who might have worked at Auburn, Brush College, Bush, Candalaria, Cummings, Englewood, Faye Wright, Four Corners, Grant, Hayesville, Hoover, Keizer, Liberty, McKinley, Salem Heights, Swegle or West Salem School in the 1968-19 school year? Did you attend one of these schools and remember one or two of your favorite teachers? 

You can see the images and submit identifications here.   

In addition to documenting the teachers and school staff, the photos and the staff directory provide an interesting look into the workings of local schools at the time and just how many individuals it took to keep the schools operating. 

In addition to teachers, cafeteria, maintenance, library and administrative staff are listed. Staff directories show the district’s Head Start Program, a Johnson Administration-era program that had started just a few years before.  

Some schools utilized split grades and team teaching, some did not. Each school lists the head of their Parent Teacher's Association, and it is interesting to note that there was no standardized language between schools. It was the Bush Parents’ & Teachers Club, the Auburn PTA, the West Salem Parent-Teacher League and the Four Corners Mothers’ Club. 

 All photos in the collection are also published below.

Editor's note: This column is part of an effort from Salem Reporter to highlight local history in collaboration with area historians and historical organizations. If you have any feedback or would like to participate in Salem Reporter's local history series, please contact managing editor Rachel Alexander at [email protected]

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