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LCMS. Board of Parish Education, Superintendents Conference/Conference of Education Executives, 1921-1980.

  • Collection Number: A-0020
  • Collection Size: 1.7 linear feet

Historical Note

The Superintendents Conference was an organization created at the wish of teachers within church schools. In 1856 the Eastern District proposed that the Synod institute and elect a general school board for the supervision of its 114 parochial schools. In 1914, the Synod took action by passing a resolution that established school boards at the synodical and district levels. However, the Synod made no mention of the office of superintendent.

In 1918, three districts in separate conventions became the first to establish a superintendent of schools for their respective districts: the Northern Illinois District, the Michigan District and the Central District. In 1919, the Iowa District, the South Wisconsin District and the Western District also established superintendencies. As the office was new, the Northern Illinois District was instructed to draw up rules and regulations for the office.

In 1920 A. C. Stellhorn proposed the calling of general school conference in response to a growing fear of state supervision of private and parochial schools. The board reacted favorably and invited Stellhorn to assist in organizing the conference and to present a paper on “State Supervision of Parochial Schools.” The conference was held at River Forest, Illinois, on 23-24 February 1921.

One day after the school conference, 25 February 1921, the district superintendents met in Chicago to organize the Superintendents Conference. They adopted the “Rules and Regulations of the Superintendents Conference of the Missouri Synod,” which became the founding document of the organization. The first regular meeting of the Superintendents Conference was held at Holy Cross School, St. Louis, Missouri., on 24-27 May 1921.

The Superintendents Conference appears to have met annually following its formation. The second regular meeting was held in May 1922 at River Forest. Most of the early annual meetings continued to be held there and included joint meetings with the faculty of Concordia Teachers College. Other locations for the meetings included Seward, Nebraska, and St. Louis. From 1943 onward, meetings were almost exclusively held in St. Louis.

New constitutions for the organization were adopted in December 1949 and again in 1960, at which time there was also a change in name. The resolution to change the name to the Conference of Education Executives passed during their 1961 meeting and is documented in the minutes under “Resolutions Adopted at the Conference of Education Executives, Resolution 9: Change of Name.”

In 1935, while meeting in St. Louis, the conference celebrated its 15th anniversary. Then in 1961 at Seward, Nebraska, the Superintendents Conference celebrated its 40th anniversary.

Scope Note

The materials are arranged in chronological order with correspondence appearing before programs/minutes. The majority of the material in this collection was culled from the files of A. C. Stellhorn, Board of Parish Education. This is reflected in the correspondence files, 1921-1951 (f.1-17), which contain correspondence in reference to issues of curriculum, teacher records, the calling of teachers and the annual meetings of the Superintendents Conference. At the annual meetings presentations and workshops were held. The materials for one such workshop organized by William A. Kramer (1900-1998) at the 1948 meeting appear separately (f.16).

The remaining files contain programs and minutes from the annual meetings of the Superintendents Conference and the Conference of Education Executives. The collection of programs and minutes is not complete, however.

The collection also includes a folder (f.33) containing various unrelated and undated clippings from periodicals and the texts of various presentations and workshops apparently given at the annual meetings.

Folder List

  • f.1: Constitution/Organizational/History, 1921-1960
  • f.2: Superintendency, 1936-1937
  • f.3-18: Superintendents Conference Correspondence (1921-1951)
  • f.16: 1948 – Kramer Workshop
  • f.19-24: Superintendents Conference:
    • f.19: 1925-1949 – Programs and Minutes and Miscellaneous
    • f.20: 1950-1954 – Programs and Minutes
    • f.21: 1955 – St. Paul Conference (13-20 July)
    • f.22: 1956 – Workshop Report
    • f.23: 1955-1957 – Programs and Minutes
    • f.24: 1959 – Programs and Minutes
  • f.25: Programs and Minutes
    • 1960-61 – Superintendents Conference
    • 1962 – Conference of Education Executives
  • f.26-32: Conference of Education Executives:
    • f.26: 1963 – Programs and Minutes
    • f.27: 1963 – “A Job Analysis for the Board of Christian Education and the Superintendents”
    • f.28: 1964-1966 – Programs and Minutes
    • f.29: 1965 – Miscellaneous
    • f.30: 1967 – Program
    • f.31: 1968 – Programs/Minutes/Miscellaneous
    • f.32: 1969-1970 – Programs/Minutes/Miscellaneous
  • f.33: Superintendents Conference – Miscellaneous Articles, n.d.
  • f.34-39: Conference of Education Executives:
    • f.34: 1974 – Program
    • f.35: 1976 – Program
    • f.36: 1977 – Agenda & Program
    • f.37: 1978 – Agenda & Program
    • f.38: 1979 – Program
    • f.39: 1980 – Program
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