C. Louise Boehringer (1878-1956)

Inducted in 2008

Used by permission from the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records

C. Louise Boehringer became the first female elected to the position of School Superintendent in Yuma County in 1913, a position which she held until 1917. She was recognized as an authority in the area of children’s courses of study and in 1917 she bought and became editor of the Arizona Teacher Magazine, a teaching journal that she published ten times a year. For many years this was the only vehicle that unified the far-flung schools of the state and provided a forum for teachers and the Arizona Education Association. She continued publishing this until 1939 when she turned the magazine over to the Arizona Education Association. For many years, she wrote articles for journals and magazines on education and pioneer women.

In 1920 Boehringer was elected to the State Legislature. As chairman of the education committee, she initiated many educational reforms including the establishment of the State School Board and the first per capita state funding of schools.. She later became director of curriculum for the Department of Education, a position she held for six years. In 1926 she was legislative chairman for the Arizona State Federation of Women’s clubs. Because women were often excluded from men’s professional groups, she organized several professional organizations for Arizona’s working women to help them network, including the Arizona Federation of Business and Professional Women. She served as President of the Arizona Council of Administrative Women in Education, an organization for female county school superintendent, high school department heads and principals. She was a pioneer member of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women when it was founded in St. Louis in 1919. She organized the Arizona Federation of Business and Professional Women, became the state’s first President of that group and worked hard for equal pay, opportunity and education for working women. While serving as President, she drove over 1,500 miles on unpaved roads visiting the local organizations. She also organized the Arizona branches of the National League of American Penwomen.

Herbert Hoover appointed Louise in 1928 to spearhead the Arizona State Better Homes Committee to provide communities with information on improving housing conditions.

Often called “the mother of the Arizona educational system” Louise Boehringer devoted her life to obtaining better education for all Arizona students by continuously striving to improve the quality of the state’s educational system. Her contributions to Arizona as a writer, educator, feminist and legislator created a lasting legacy for future generations of working women. Her dedication to civic and educational organizations leaves an indelible mark on the state.