The Mr. David Wolfle Story


The David H. Wolfle Story


Wolfle Elementary is named after David Henry Wolfle (1875-1952), who was a teacher, principal and superintendent of Kitsap County Schools for 45 years. Mr. Wolfle had to overcome a wide variety of obstacles and challenges to achieve what he did. Born in Germany and moving to America when he was three, he did not begin to master English until he was in his late teens. Raised on a farm in the late 1800's, school was not a high priority, so by age 18 he had progressed only as far as the 6th grade. In addition to language and educational challenges, David also had a physical deformity: he had a hunched back. In today’s society he would have been considered At-Risk.

Around the age of 18 David met a teacher who turned his life around. W. Gilbert Beattie taught at David's school for only one term, but the connection made between the two inspired David to remain in school and eventually earn a Masters Degree at the University of Washington. In 1907 he began teaching in Kitsap County Schools. He held various teaching and principal positions, including Superintendent, for 17 years until he died in 1952. While superintendent, Mr. Wolfle established a school at Little Boston in 1936 so that the children of Port Gamble Indian Reservation would no longer need to take a boat or live away from home in order to attend school. The Little Boston school survived until 1951 when the developing system of school busses began bringing children to the first David Wolfle Elementary. The first David Wolfle Elementary was located on the far side of our play fields (just off the highway) until the current David Wolfle opened in 1990.

In September, 2013, we were paid a surprise visit by Lee Wolfle, David Wolfle’s grandson. He shared that David Wolfle was a very short man but was all legs, so he had a long and quick gait. Secondly, David received his humpback as baby. He was in a stroller when it somehow went careening out of control down a steep hill and he was permanently injured in the crash. Most of David’s decedents went on to become educators, mostly in community colleges and universities. Lee (now 72) had been a university professor as were his children.

Today we live, teach and learn in the spirit of David Wolfle. As a community of life long learners, adults and children alike come to this school with a variety of strengths and challenges. Through our experiences, relationships and connections with one another, our community and the world around us, we hope to continue the legacy of inspiring young and mature minds to achieve their fullest potential and to leave a lasting and positive mark on individuals and the world around us.

Benjamin Degnin