Phyllis L. Munster

Honored by:Richard Munster and Family
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Phyllis (Lehnhardt) Munster, born on a farm near Aurelia, Iowa on May 4, 1931, educated at Aurelia Public Schools, became a 'liberator of minds' as an educator in Iowa schools. Although education was not for every woman at the time of her graduation, she went to Buena Vista College for two summers and a full year to obtain a teaching certificate. Her first teaching job was in the Paulina Community Schools, one year after graduating from high school. It was there that she met her husband, Richard Munster. In 1954 they moved to Manning, Iowa, to teach. After four years there, Phyllis 'retired' to start a family.

Through graduate school in Colorado for her husband for a M.A., two more moves to get her husband in administrative posts, and a Ph.D. program for her husband at Iowa State University, with three children, this woman maintained the drive and support needed for the family to go through this experience and grow in the process. She gave moral support, provided a rock solid religious foundation for the whole family, and generally kept the family together and moving forward.

In 1968, graduation came and the family left for Bettendorf, Iowa, where Richard was employed by ISU Extension as an Area Extension Director. The three girls were now in school, so Phyllis obtained a position with the Davenport Community Schools as a second grade teacher. Phyllis continued with the Davenport Schools for 19 years. In the meantime, she completed her B.A. degree from Marycrest College, her M.A. degree and Specialists degree from Western Illinois University, plus completing all requirements for a Ph.D. except the dissertation from the University of Iowa. The children probably remember Mom sitting at the kitchen table each night, studying or correcting papers until 11:30 P.M. or much later. In all things, Phyllis demanded much of her students, her family and herself and in most cases received much because of her example and dedication. As an example, one student 24 years after being in her class in elementary school, wrote an article for her company newsletter pointing out the vast influence Phyllis had on her as a teacher which had guided her throughout her life.

Phyllis was forced to move once more when her husband was transferred to northwest Iowa in 1986. She finished the 1986-87 school year and moved with little hope of obtaining a teaching position with so much education and experience. However, an elementary principal's position opened that summer of 1987 at the Schaller-Crestland Community Schools. She applied and obtained the position. This was a recent merger of schools and the first elementary principal they had hired. Phyllis gave her usual "all" to this job that let her use some of her advanced college work and again was quite successful. After four years, she retired with her husband to Bella Vista, Arkansas, where they reside today. Now her efforts go into her church, which is quite new, and of course Phyllis heads up the Christian Education Committee.

Phyllis is a perfect example of the person who goes about her work without a lot of fanfare, helps others as a matter of course, and provides a wonderful example of what a person should be like to her daughters. She may not have national recognition, but in my heart, in our children's heart, and in the hearts of many, many former students, she epitomizes what a true "hero" is all about. For these and countless other reasons I am proud to add her name to the Roll of Honor to be displayed in Carrie Chapman Catt Hall.