Who is John Long?

John L. Long
(1896 - 1963)

Teacher - Principal - Superintendent
Grafton Public Schools
Who is John Long?

One of the most frequently asked questions by new students to John Long Middle School in Grafton, Wisconsin remained unanswered for many years. No current teacher in the school was employed by Grafton Public Schools while Mr. Long served as superintendent, principal, or teacher. This web page was created in September 2000 to allow students and community members to become reacquainted with the namesake of John Long Middle School.

John L. Long served the Grafton School District over a span of forty-four years. He moved to Grafton after teaching for two years in Eau Claire. Mr. Long served as high school teacher, principal, and superintendent from 1919 to 1926. He then resigned to attend the University of Wisconsin, earning a law degree in 1929. Mr. Long later received his Masters of Education degree from Marquette University.

Elected in 1930, John Long represented Ozaukee County in the Wisconsin State Assembly for two years. In addition to his term as assemblyman, he served 22 years as the Village Clerk for Grafton, and was the American Legion Post Commander in Grafton from 1937-1939. He returned to the Grafton School District in 1933 and continued to serve as principal until 1958 and superintendent until 1960.

While serving as high school principal and superintendent, John Long was the instructor of several classes at Grafton High School. Mr. Long taught many subjects during his career including History, Algebra, Geometry, Physics, Physical Ed., Health, Chemistry, Family Living, General Math, and Business Law.

On the night before his death, John Long visited the Grafton School Board chairman to request permission to compose a letter in the local newspaper outlining the reasons voters should support a referendum to build an elementary school at the end of 5th Avenue. This referendum had been voted down twice before, but Mr. Long said he felt the community needed to build for the future educational needs of Grafton children. The chairman approved, but the letter was never published. The next day, September 9, 1963, John Long taught his Business Law class at Grafton High School, then died that afternoon in his home. The referendum passed three weeks later, and that elementary school eventually became John Long Middle School.

John Long was born on July 11, 1896, in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. He had three brothers, Harvey, Ron, and Allen, and three sisters, Harriet (O'Boyle), Eva (Territty), and Helen (Bush). After high school, Mr. Long attended River Falls State College in River Falls, Wisconsin. John married Myrtle Stenz from Ashland, Wisconsin on January 10, 1931 at the University Chapel in Madison, WI. John and Myrtle had two children, Mary (Villalobos) and Margaret (Kiedrowski). Both daughters attended Grafton Public Schools.

Those who remember John Long considered him very tough, but dedicated to the needs of children. He has been described as a man who earned respect by expecting the most from those around him.

- Scott Oftedahl,
Kennedy Elementary School

Special thanks to:
Norbert Studelska, former Grafton School Board member
Leroy Paulin, Rose Harms American Legion Post, Grafton, Wisconsin
Dee Anna Grimsrud , State Historical Society of Wisconsin
Lori Arendt, Lakeshore Publishing
Margaret Draak, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

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