The Mr. David Wolfle Story


The David H. Wolfle Story


Wolfle Elementary is named after David Henry Wolfle (1875-1952), a teacher, principal, and superintendent of Kitsap County Schools for 45 years. Mr. Wolfle had to overcome various 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 1800s, 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: a hunched back. In today’s society, he would have been considered At-Risk.

Around 18, David met a teacher who turned his life around. W. Gilbert Beattie taught at David's school for only one term. Still, the connection between the two inspired David to remain in school and eventually earn a Master's 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 to attend school. The Little Boston school survived until 1951, when the developing school bus system 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 a baby. He was in a stroller when it went careening out of control down a steep hill, and he was permanently injured in the crash. Most of David’s decedents became educators 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 lifelong learners, adults and children come to this school with various 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 leave a lasting and positive mark on individuals and the world around us.

Benjamin Degnin