1882 – 1969
John A. Hodge, the longest-serving principal of Sumner High School in Kansas City, Kansas, was born in Shelbyville, Indiana, and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics from Indiana University. He came to Kansas City, Kansas, in 1910 to accept a teaching position at Sumner High and became principal in 1916. During his tenure, the school established a teacher training program and a junior college.
He also oversaw construction of a new school building. Hodge’s community activities spanned both sides of the state line as he served as president of the Kansas City, Kansas, branch of the NAACP, secretary of the Committee of Management of the Paseo YMCA, and secretary of the First Baptist Church building fund committee.
At the time of his retirement in 1951, The Kansas City Call noted, “In a humanitarian way the educator has purchased books, clothing and food for students from his personal funds. One Sumner student, a promising violinist, studied in Russia because of the school principal’s holding of a benefit concert in his behalf.”
A former president of the Sumner High School Alumni Association once observed that Hodge “believed in the capability of all Black youth. He did not want them to think of themselves as inadequate, and he did everything in his power to see to it that his students were successful.”