Poland taught school in Massachusetts but resigned because of low pay. Deciding to study law, he began preparing to enter law school. At this time he came to the attention of Ilion, a small community in New York, that needed a teacher and administrator. Poland stayed for eleven years, from 1874-1885, and greatly improved the school's education standards and its standing within the state. An intelligent man, he had graduated from Columbia University with a Ph.D. and before his death, Poland had made a significant contribution to the field of education in the United States.
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