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Trailblazer Bennye Jones Kinsler

Bennye Jones Kinsler, upon retiring in 1991 after 58 years of teaching in Lake County, Florida schools, was quoted as saying, “If I had 58 more years, I would give them all to teaching.” She launched her career in 1932, during the Great Depression, teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in #Sorrento_Florida. By the time of her retirement in 1991, Mrs. Bennye Kinsler was teaching mentally handicapped children at #Tavares_Elementary_School. During her first 44 years as an instructor, Bennye Jones Kinsler was teaching in a segregated school system. 

Teacher of the Year 1989

“A Special Education Teacher”

Tavares Elementary School

“I have commended Mrs. Kinsler as an excellent teacher,” said Robert D. Crawford, principal of Tavares Elementary Scholl in 1988. “She is knowledgeable of the subject material, has an unfailing love for kids and an understanding of their needs. She has dedicated her whole being to helping young people reach their potential. Her patience in this task is an inspiration to all who know her. Long hours, resources, sage advice are all freely given by Mrs. Kinsler in her drive to enrich lives.” Florida Governor Lawton Chiles and his cabinet recognized Bennye Jones Kinsler’s remarkable career in 1992.

Before integration, Bennye served as Principal of #Cromartie_Elementary_School in Tavares, but then, in 1976, students of Cromartie moved to Tavares Elementary School. Named for William Reed Cromartie, an early leader in the Tavares Black community, the school building itself no longer exists.

Tavares Elementary School, Tavares, #Florida

Born 17 March 1911 in Calhoun County, Georgia, Bennye came to #Lake_County,_Florida with her parents. In 1932, she earned a bachelor’s degree from #Bethune_Cookman_College in Daytona Beach, and thereafter received a teaching certificate in September of 1936. Bennye married in 1935, to Clarence Dennis Kinsler. He too was a teacher.

“This school and our school system,” said Principal Robert Crawford, “is a better place for kids because of the love, dedication, and talents of this unique individual.”

Our #Tavares_Trailblazer Bennye Jones Kinsler died 8 March 1999 at age 87.    

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