Annie Fisher

An educator and reformer who cared deeply about the full well-being of her community

Young Annie Fisher



Annie Fisher was born in Russia in 1883 and came to America with her parents and eight siblings in 1888, settling in Hartford. While her father began as a peddler, he later built a scrap iron business. The Fisher family was observant, and she was active in Jewish organizations from an early age. 

After graduating from Hartford Public High School, Annie earned a scholarship to Wesleyan University and was one of the first women to graduate in 1904. After graduating from Wesleyan, Annie earned a Master's degree from New York University and continued her studies at the Hartford Seminary and Columbia University, as well as studying psychology in Europe. She taught in Hartford for years, eventually becoming the first female principal and later the first female superintendent. 









As a student at Wesleyan, Annie became acutely aware that women were not accepted as fully-fledged members of the college community. They were even barred from attending reunions until Annie's 50th college reunion, when she wrote a strongly-worded letter to object. Annie also had difficuly finding a teaching position. She started by teaching adult evening English classes. She only received her first full-time position at Henry Barnard School because she could speak the language of the large immigrant population. 

When Annie became Hartford's first female principal, she suffered the prejudices of those who didn't want to accept a Jewish woman in that position. She gradually won the respect of her colleagues, who saw value in her educational, salary, and pension reforms. Eventually, she advanced to become the superintendent of Hartford schools.  

Annie Fisher Portrait


Throughout her career, Annie Fisher designed programs to fit students' skills and needs. She created work-study programs, psychological testing, a preschool, and had the school build showers to emphasize the importance of hygiene. Students also recieved free dental care, glasses, and daily cod liver oil. Her efforts also extended to students' families. Annie understood that to improve student's education prospects, she also had to improve the lives of that student's community. 



Annie Fisher with Colleagues


Many of Annie's actions contributed to the betterment of her community. Not only did she improve her students' lives, she also fought for salary reforms and pensions for herself and her fellow teachers, regardless of gender. By the time she retired in 1945, the Hartford community held her in high esteem. In 1963, Hartford named a school after her. That school still bears her name today as the Annie Fisher Montessori Magnet School

"The task of the teacher is never done."