Philip Schlechty was a man of deep knowledge and common sense. If you read any of his books about education, you will know at once that Phil understood teaching, learning, education, and leadership. He understood that teachers are mortals, not magicians. He understood the limits of what schools can do at the same time that he understood the awesome power of teachers to change lives. I was fortunate to meet him and to become a friend. He advised many schools, helping them to improve. He did not believe in radical disruption or earth-shattering transformation. He believed in the steady and collaborative work of schools and knew it was hard, and knew that it takes community support. He warned against the encroachments of far-away powers that knew how to mandate but nothing more. When I read his books, I recognized that he had wisdom, knowledge, insight, vision, and all of that was grounded in a lost quality: common sense. We have lost a friend.
I wanted to let you know that our good friend and colleague, Phillip C. Schlechty, passed away this past Thursday (January 7, 2016) at the age of 79.
You may recall that Phil visited your home about three years ago. You may also remember that several of us—including George Thompson, Schlechty Center president—shared dinner together at the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA) conference in Austin the evening before you and Phil gave major talks.
I am a senior associate with the Schlechty Center and also serve as a consultant for TASA, who partners with the Schlechty Center for some of its work in Texas. TASA filters its legislative programs and other work through Creating a New Vision for Public Education in Texas, a document developed with the assistance of Phil, his staff, and 35 visionary superintendents in Texas.
My perception is that you and Phil are kindred spirits in your resolve and approach to advancing teaching and learning and are inspiring champions of public education as essential to the survival of our democratic way of life. You share many common ideas, friends, and colleagues, so I thought you might want to note his passing with your readers. In addition to including your own perspectives, you may feel free to include any thoughts you find worthy of mention from the formal announcement below.
Thank you for all you do to stimulate the conversations needed to properly frame the educational issues of our day and to encourage all citizens to keep the best interests of children and youth first.
Schlechty Center Announcement
We are deeply saddened to report that Dr. Phillip C. Schlechty, founder of
the Schlechty Center, passed away on January 7, 2016. We, like the
thousands of educators he has influenced, are left feeling empty and
heartbroken by this news. However, in his infinite wisdom, Phil had done a
masterful job of ensuring the continuity of leadership
needed for this transition. Although our mentor, friend, and thought
leader passed away today, we at the Schlechty Center will continue our
work with a renewed purpose: to honor Phil¹s legacy of creating engaging
schools for today¹s students.