In Memoriam: Dr. Dawn K. Wilson

At the start of a meeting yesterday at work, a private message arrived from dear friend, Dr. Katie Alaniz at Houston Baptist University. The message sent me into a bit of retrospection. Katie let me know that a dear friend and colleague had died earlier that day.

In Memoriam - Dr. Dawn Wilson

This friend and colleague had a profound impact on my work. The first time we met, I had flown to Houston Baptist University (HBU), stuffing a suit jacket into my bag, to meet Dr. Dawn Wilson. It was part of the process before I became a Professor of Record for the Pathways to Advance Virtual Education (PAVE) program in Northside ISD, San Antonio, Texas. 

Dawn was intimately involved in the Master's Online program, and getting to meet her was a wonderful experience. I was a bit in awe on walking on the HBU campus, even more so I met the boisterous, gushing warmth and friendliness (with the slide edge that Dawn could deliver flawlessly). It was an amazing visit to HBU, but instantly memorable due to Dawn. 

There are many people you meet that are instantly welcoming, who genuinely connect with you because of their sincere deep unconditional positive regard for you. Dawn's love for people always touched me, and I loved chatting and learning from her. We connected from time to time to stay in touch, but it wasn't again until around 2015 that we spent more serious time chatting.

Dawn, and one of her star pupils (Dr. Katie Alaniz), had written a book on peer coaching. I often tout her book as the only edtech friendly peer coaching model--based on Jim Knight's work--in existence. 

You can read about her here and listen to a podcast:

Dr. Wilson had frequented the TCEA's Elementary Technology Conference, as well as presented at TCEA's TEC-SIG annual events. She was always open to helping out, and her work is shared in many of my blogs and webinars. 

I will miss her. Dawn's smile, her love of people and enthusiasm for the work we are about as educators. And, I'm grateful that there are many of us out here beyond the HBU campus who benefited and connected around Dawn and her education efforts over the years. 

Dear Dawn, I want you to know, even though you are gone, that you will be missed. Not your scholarship alone, but your unique perspective and enthusiasm to make a difference, the way you made people feel. When I point to the sky, you are on of the lights that guides the way and pushes back the dark. As you begin this journey, I wish you well, dear friend. No doubt, you will light the dark for some other travelers. I can only pray they will not have so long to wait, and that what you taught me is something I can pass on. Blessings to you, Miguel

It makes the sadness a little more bearable to know so many of us will carry on her work, bear her as a memory of a wonderful person...that each of us will serve as a mirror of the light she brought each day.

My most recent contact with Dawn and Katie was this past year. They had invited me to keynote, a frightening experience, since I'm not fond of the big stage. My keynote was Making Fire. It was my first talk about STEM/STEAM to such an audience of distinguished educators, but my fear lessened as I got up to speak. Dawn's support and presence calmed me, totally without her being aware of it. Dawn's lovingness permeated the room, impacting all of the speakers and students. 

As I consider the loss Dawn's family is experiencing now, I can only imagine the grief based on my experiences of losing my mother and father to cancer. I assure you, Dawn's smile, the quality and tenor of her voice, the many ways she nurtured you, disciplined you, loved you will be made manifest in your own lives and of those whom she worked with. You will never forget her, you will never lose that. I know because I see my parents in every smile of my children, and in my own actions, hear their thoughts echoed in my mind and heart.

I leave you with this picture which captures my great esteem for Dawn, and, of course, for Katie, with whom she worked so closely with. How blessed we have been to have seen, and known the, Dawn.

2018 - Brunch after Conference

Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure


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