Journal of Educational Controversy

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

In Memoriam: Evelyn Wright


I am saddened to announce the passing of Evelyn Wright on September 22, 2017.  Evelyn was the associate editor of our journal since its inception and a member of the English Department at Western Washington University.  She also taught many of the English methods courses for teachers at the Woodring College of Education before retiring.

For Evelyn, preparing prospective teachers was more than providing teaching methods.  It involved helping teachers to work with a text on a deeper level that enabled them to construct experiences for their students’ own struggle with meaning.  She also explored the influence of policy and the courts on the teaching of reading.  In “School English and Public Policy” (College English, Volume 42, Number 4), Evelyn analyzed the Ann Arbor, Michigan court decision on the use of ebonics or black English in the teaching of reading against an historical background of the conceptions of literacy and school language policies in American schools. Her analysis raised serious social and cultural questions on the implications of these policies for rethinking notions of equal educational opportunity and social justice.  Long after she retired, she would continue to provide lectures on the case for our students with her visits to our classes.

The scope of her understanding brought a rich experience to all the students she touched over the years, a legacy that continues in the teaching of future generations of teachers. Evelyn gave me an enriched understanding of the power of literature and a friendship that spanned some forty years.

 

3 comments:

Bob Hagin said...

Evelyn Wright changed my life. As a WWU education student with a learning disability, Dr. Wright tutored me so I could pass the English competency test, but my testing abilities were never sufficient. I didn't give up, nor did Dr. Wright and Dr. Mork. Their advocacy and letters to the Dean of Education resulted in my long career as an educator and supporter for those that struggle. I have a story of impactful people in my life and grit. Dr. Wright has been part of 34-years of my students once removed.

I continue to tell the story of Dr. Wright as a person and advocate. She will always be an inspiration. She laughed with her students and developed minds. Without her, I could not have taught nor been a school administrator. As I complete my doctoral studies, her influence continues.

We all need a Dr. Wright in our lives, and I am fortunate that Evelyn was mine.

Debbie Wright said...

Thank you Bob: your comments are very meaningful to Evelyn's family. Thank you so much for writing. Hopefully you know that her Memorial Service will be conducted on Saturday November 4th at 1:00PM at St John's Lutheran Church,2530 Cornwall Avenue, in Bellingham, in case you are in the area and available.
Warm regards, Deborah Wright

eggshell Burks said...

Evelyn was my mentor. I am heartbroken to hear of her passing. I was one of her students in the late 1980's, and she inspired me to become the best teacher I could possibly be. She helped me develop my educational philosophy: who could be a better guide than Evelyn? I am so lucky. I have been teaching since 1990, and I found myself giving Evelyn a call once every 5 or 6 years, just to check in with her. Her sharp mind and quick wit were unsurpassed! I last spoke with her 2 years ago. I was hoping I'd get to see her again one day, but I don't live in the Northwest anymore. She often spoke of her children and grandchildren with so much love! I'll treasure the camping trip I took with her back in the early 90's! We went to a Pow-Wow outside of La Grande, Oregon. It was a trip! I am so lucky to have known her and to have her as a teacher. ~ Donelle Sydow