Degnin, Benjamin (Principal)

From the Principal: Welcome to Wolfle!

ben w/korean kids

Welcome to David Wolfle Elementary School  (most commonly refered to as just "Wolfle Elementary") ... a place where we strive not to be the best in the world, but the best FOR the world! The difference? If we try to be the best in the world, then we are competing against others, trying to push them down while building ourselves up ... the need to be #1. By striving to be the best FOR the world, we work to build each other up, to help each other grow and achieve our fullest potential. This is done by accepting in others, as well as ourselves, both strengths and weaknesses. Through teamwork, communication and collaboration, we build each other up, support and encourage one another, help each other to tap into our unique strengths, talents and abilities. We do this by not only tolerating, but by accepting, embracing and honoring diversity in others as well as ourselves. 
This, I believe, is the spirit of our school's namesake, David Henry Wolfle. David Wolfle (1875-1952), was a teacher, principal and superintendent of Kitsap County Schools for 45 years. David Wolfle had to overcome a wide variety of obstacles and challenges in his own personal life to accomplish his achievements. Born in Germany and moving to America when he was three years old, 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 at 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 was a hunchback. 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 relationship made between the two inspired David to remain in school and eventually earn his Masters Degree at the University of Washington. In 1907 he began teaching in Kitsap County Schools. He held various teaching and principal positions, as well as School  Superintendent for 17 years until his death 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 developing system of school buses began bringing children to the first David Wolfle Elementary in 1951. The current David Wolfle Elementary was built in 1990 on the opposite side of the playground from the original school (which is now an overflow parking area bordering the highway).
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 and relationships with one another, our community and the world around us, we hope to continue his legacy of inspiring young and mature minds to achieve their fullest potential. It is our goal to leave a lasting and positive mark on individuals and the world around us so that we become not the best in the world, but the best FOR the world.
Benjamin Degnin, Principal

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