New Museum Gallery Honors Beloved Teacher

July 11 reception planned for the Dorothy Schoknecht Gallery

By Beacon Staff
Dorothy Schoknecht, science teacher

The Museum at Central School in Kalispell has achieved a $100,000 fundraising goal to honor beloved local teacher, Dorothy Schoknecht, and will host a grand opening for the museum’s new gallery named for Schoknecht as well as the new exhibit for the gallery.

Dorothy Schoknecht lived 101 remarkable years from 1906 to 2008. For nearly 30 years she taught thousands of Flathead Valley youth, in Bigfork, Kalispell’s Central School, and for 20 years at Flathead High.

In 2008 the Museum at Central School launched a campaign to honor her by raising $100,000 to name the classroom at Central School where she taught in the 1936-37 school year, as the Dorothy Schoknecht Gallery.

The Museum recently achieved the goal after more than 300 generous donors, mostly Dorothy’s former students, contributed from $10 to a few hundred, to many thousands of dollars to honor Ms. Schoknecht, and to support the many community service programs at the Museum at Central School.

On Friday, July 11 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Museum is hosting a grand opening for Museum members and the general public. An elegant plaque with all 318 donor names will be on display, and the Museum exhibits will be open for viewing free of charge. The new Dorothy Schoknecht Gallery is now home to the all-new History of the Flathead Valley exhibition.

Dorothy Schoknecht’s family moved to Kalispell in 1912 when Doroth was six years old. She attended Kalispell schools, graduating Flathead High School in 1925 as valedictorian. She received a bachelor of arts degree from Valpariso University, and her master’s degree in chemistry and microbiology from the University of Washington.

After graduating, Dorothy returned to the Flathead, where she taught first at Bigfork High School, then Kalispell Junior High, and then twenty years teaching chemistry and biology at Flathead High, where she was also advisor for the yearbook. After her retirement, she continued to teach German at Trinity Lutheran School.

Museum director Gil Jordan notes, “Teachers are too often taken for granted for the essential role they play in shaping and inspiring our youth. We’re proud to honor one of the best teachers ever in the Flathead Valley with permanent recognition in the form of the Dorthy Schoknecht Gallery.”

The Museum at Central School is located at 124 2nd Ave E in Kalispell. For more information, call the Museum at 756-8381.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.