What the Commissioner of Education did was publish the obituaries of teachers and educators at all levels. See this example of the obituary of Jeremiah Root Barnes (1809-1901).
What did we learn from this obituary?
Full Name: Jeremiah Root Barnes
Date/Place of Death: 1 Jan 1901 – Marietta, Ohio
Date/Place of Birth: 9 March 1809 – Southington, CT
Education: Yale College, 1834; Yale Theological Seminary – 2 years; Honorary Degree – Yale (1892).
Career: Pastor: Evansville, IN; Salem, IN; Piqua, OH; young ladies seminary (1850) suburbs of Cincinnati; founder of Carleton College in Northfield, MN; publisher of: Western Magazine
Military: Civil War – in the Freedmen’s Bureau 1861-1865.
Tip: Obituaries were published not only in newspapers but also in government documents and reports.
This example is from: Annual reports of the Department of the Interior for the fiscal year ended June 30, 1902. Report of the Commissioner of Education. Volume 1. Date: 1903-01-01; Publication: Serial Set Vol. No. 4464, Session Vol. No.25; Report: H.Doc. 5 pt. 5.1