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Image WASB Logo celebrating 100 yearsThe 1950s

The 1950s ushered in a baby boom, with the population exploding by 28 million before the decade’s end – at the time a growth rate faster than India’s. The consumer-society grew as well. By 1957, there were 500 television stations – up from 100 in 1950 – hawking everything from cars to toothpaste. New school buildings and their proud school boards became a staple of Wisconsin School Boards News magazine covers.

Often considered a quiet, conforming decade, the 50s were anything but in reality. The decade saw federal troops integrate Little Rock High School in Arkansas, Soviets launch the Sputnik satellite, the Korean War begin (and never officially end), rock and roll raise eyebrows, Wisconsin’s Sen. Joseph McCarthy lead a “Red Scare” until being censured, and children practice duck and cover drills during the day and watch Bonanza and The Twilight Zone at night.

Image George Tipler Photo

Winneconne School Board member George Tipler resigned his position on the WASB Board of Directors to become the association’s first executive secretary (later executive director) in 1964. He continued to serve on his local school board until 1973 and retired from the WASB in 1988.

  • 1951: The WASB holds its first regional meeting in Phillips.
  • 1952: Advertising allowed in the Wisconsin School Board News.
  • 1954: Winneconne School Board Member George Tipler named part-time executive secretary for a monthly salary of $200; and Kenosha School Board Member Joseph Hamelink elected as a director of the National School Boards Association.
  • 1956: The WASB rents a one-room office in the former Winneconne post office (the WASB now owns this building and still uses it for printing and mailing).
  • 1958: The Fond du Lac School Board partners with the UW-Madison School of Education’s new “Cooperative Education Research and Services“ program; and the annual convention moves from the Schroeder Hotel (now the Hilton City Center Hotel in Milwaukee) to the Milwaukee Auditorium.
  • 1959: The WASB releases its first handbook “Opportunities Unlimited,” written by UW-Madison Professor Richard Rossmiller (father of current WASB Government Relations Director Dan Rossmiller).

WASB Presidents

1950 – F.J. Brewer – South Milwaukee
1951 – F.J. Brewer – South Milwaukee
1952 – Roy Thiel – Fond du Lac
1953 – William Milne – Phillips
1954 – William Milne – Phillips
1955 – Ralph Lund – Black River Falls
1956 – Ralph Lund – Black River Falls
1957 – Dorothy Branham – Rice Lake
1958 – Dorothy Branham – Rice Lake
1959 – Dorothy Branham – Rice Lake

Our State
  • 1951: Wisconsin establishes the first statewide program to acquire and manage natural areas for scientific study and conservation/educational purposes.

  • 1955: Thirty representatives from Wisconsin, including the WASB president, attend a national education conference, discussing topics such as teachers, buildings, curriculum and finance; and West Allis native Liberace commands $50,000 a week at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

  • 1957: The state Legislature repeals aid for four-year-old kindergarten; Wisconsin is the first state to require fiscal estimates for legislation; and the Milwaukee Braves defeat the New York Yankees to win the World Series – the city’s only major league baseball championship.

  • 1959: Green Bay Packers rookie head coach Vince Lombardi named Coach of the Year.

Our Nation
  • 1952: Sen. Richard Nixon gives a memorable “Checkers” speech to save his place as President Dwight Eisenhower’s running mate; E.B. White publishes “Charlotte’s Web.”

  • 1952: “I Love Lucy” begins a five-year run as television’s top-rated show.

  • 1954: The U.S. Supreme Court invalidates the “separate but equal” doctrine with the Brown v Board of Education decision requiring integration of the nation’s schools.

  • 1955: Seamstress Rosa Parks refuses to give up her bus seat to a white passenger and is arrested in Montgomery, Alabama; Disneyland opens in Anaheim, California.

  • 1957: Ed Sullivan censors Elvis Presley’s swiveling hips and the rocker is seen on TV from the waist up.

  • 1957: Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, nudges Dick and Jane primers aside with publication of “The Cat in the Hat.”

  • 1959: Miles Davis releases the jazz masterpiece “Kind of Blue” album; Fidel Castro comes to power in Cuba; and Barbie makes her debut.

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