Leoti West

Full name

Leoti Leni West

Alternative names

Leoti L. West

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Seminary period alum

Leoti L. West was a student at Shimer College during the Seminary period, attending for one year. She was the first high school teacher in Washington,[1] founding what became Colfax College in 1878, and at her retirement in 1922 was the oldest active public school teacher in the state.



  • on FindaGrave
  • in The Washington Historical Quarterly, vol. 16, p. 257:
    Miss Leoti L. West, who is said to be the oldest active public school teacher int he State of Washington, was born in Iowa on March 18, 1852. She was educated in the Iowa schools and in Mount Carroll Seminary, Illinois. On August 20, 1878, she arrived at Colfax, Washington, and began her long teaching career in the Pacific Northwest. In 1922 she prepared for me a statement wherein she declared that she had taught for forty years, thirty years in Washington; that she had for twenty-five years beena teachers' examiner; that she wrote the first graded school course in Eastern Washington. For two years she was Deputy County Superintendent of Schools in Whitman County, serving under the Reverend Cushing Eells. She was at one time a member of the Territorial Board of Education.*in Early Schools of Washington Territory, by Angie Burt Bowden, 1935:
    Miss Leoti L. West in 1925 was conceded to be the oldest active public school teacher in the State of Washington, retiring that year after 59 years' experience. She was born in Iowa on March 18, 1852, and educated in the Iowa schools and Mount Carroll Seminary. On August 20, 1878, she arrived in Colfax to act as the founder, builder and first principal of Colfax Academy. In December 1881, she was appointed a member of the territorial board of education. At that session she helped draft the first graded school course. In a statement she prepared for Mr. J. C. Lawrence in 1922, she said besides the above that she had been a teachers' examiner for twenty-five years and that she had served for two years under Rev. Cushing Eells as deputy county superintendent of schools. She taught in various parts of the state, among them Walla Walla where she taught many years. Her last school was at Camano. She died just before Christmas, 1933.
  • in Nina Baym, 2012, Women Writers of the American West, p. 306:
    Leoti L. West. 1851–1933. Born in Iowa, never married, went to Colfax (Washington) to teach; taught also in Walla Walla, Rosalia, Camano; served on boards of education. Eulogized as "the Inland Empire's most famous teacher," taught over 5,000 pupils; wrote her reminiscences for the Spokane Spokesman Review and published them as a book in 1927.



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