The Apalachicola Area Historical Society on Saturday afternoon chose a retired librarian and former history teacher as its president for the next two years.
By unanimous election, at a meeting held at the home of Bill and Lynn Spohrer, the society voted for Carrie Kienzle to succeed Tom Daly as president.
Also approved were another two-year term for vice president David Adlerstein; treasurer Fran Edwards and secretary Shirley Taylor. Selected to serve on the board of directors were Kathy Willis and Susan Buzzett Clementson.
“I really appreciate this honor,” Kienzle told the luncheon audience. “I’m very excited.”
Kienzle, who has resided with husband Charlie in the historic district for the past eight years, brings a robust record of civic involvements in Apalachicola, including actively working with Trinity Episcopal Church’s Tour of Homes and with the municipal library board, as well as a seat on the city’s board of adjustment.
Her career has been marked by a lifelong passion for history as well as an extensive know-how of the world of the modern library.
After earning a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of North Texas in 1990, Kienzle worked as a school librarian on the elementary, middle and high school levels before being named library director for the Irving, Texas Independent School District, which comprises about 34,000 students.
During her stint there, the American Library Association chose Irving as the school library media program of the year. And Kienzle has been a member of the Newbery Award Committee, which selects the best children’s book that year; the Caldecott Award Committee, which chooses the best picture book; and the Printz Award Committee, which selects the best young adult book.
But even with that impressive resume, Kienzle made it clear in her remarks Saturday that the challenge ahead would be for everyone, whatever their background, to work harmoniously together.
“We have to leave our egos at the door,” she said. “We need to put on our oyster boots and roll up our sleeves.”
A native of Portland, Oregon, who grew up in Rhode Island, where her father was an attorney for lumber interests, Kienzle earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Rhode Island with a double major in history and secondary education.
In the early 1970s, she taught history in Middletown, Rhode Island, and after living in various spots around the country, she and her husband settled in Texas. She and her husband have a son Charles, 28, living in Washington, DC, and daughter Elizabeth, 32, in Lone Star, Texas, who has a son Seth.
In her remark Saturday, she lauded the restoration work of Terry and Pam Corcoran, who have renovated the Marshall House at 13th street and Avenue C; of Michaelin and David Watts, who have restored the Key House adjacent to Lafayette Park; and Lynn and Bill Spohrer, who have long been devoted to restoration of their home and commercial buildings downtown.
Kienzle told of how she and her husband first traveled here in 1990, after canceling their room at Seaside, because they had heard Apalachicola was for “the intrepid.” They stayed at the Gibson Inn and began a love affair with the town which has carried on to this day.
She promised to help “preserve, promote and protect” the city’s rich historical legacy, which includes one of the state’s largest collection of historically intact buildings.
Kienzle said she is working on options for boosting fundraising, perhaps with the creation of an “1831 Society” to help direct donations towards specific needs of the community.
“It’s really never about money,” she said. “It’s about having a vision and having the will. If you feel that you really know what you’re doing and know where you’re going, they will sign on.”