Life of longtime Dayton teacher, principal, board member celebrated

A celebration of Life service for Jean Booker, former president of Dayton’s board of education, will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday at Shiloh Church, 5300 Philadelphia Drive, Dayton.

Booker died at Hospice of Dayton on March 3 at age 91.

A Dayton Daily News story about her retirement from the school board at the end of 1999 said that Booker had spent 62 of the previous 68-plus years as a student, teacher, counselor, principal, administrator or board member in Dayton schools.

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Booker said at the time that Dayton had been very good to her and she wanted to give back.

City Commissioner Jeff Mims, who was teachers union president when Booker was a principal and later school board member, called Booker “a tremendous high school principal.”

“And she was extremely effective on the board,” Mims said. “She was a strong, strong team player – always focusing on the total child. She was interested in art, music, science, foreign language, and a strong supporter of extracurriculars. Just a real down to earth person.”

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A 1944 graduate of Dayton’s Roosevelt High School, Booker earned degrees from Oberlin College and Miami University. From 1950 to 1968, she worked at Roosevelt, the last five years as assistant principal. Later she was principal at Fairview, then Meadowdale High School until her retirement in 1985.

Booker, who liked sports and taught physical education, was a downhill skier late in life and enjoyed hiking. She served as a board member for the American Youth Foundation, citing the group as an inspiration from her own student years.

She served on Dayton’s school board from 1988 to 1999, including three years as board president.

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“I love to give my best,” she said in 1999. “I like to win, but winning is not the driving force. I enjoy competition and I learned how important it is to be a member of a team. I enjoy that cooperative spirit.”

Booker’s family will receive friends at 1 p.m. Saturday, before the 2 p.m. service at Shiloh Church.

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