Winter 2018

Passion for public schools


“Respected role model.”
“Tireless leader committed to encouraging critical thinking in students.”
“Agent of change whose visionary ideas moved education forward.”

Those are just a few of the ways former colleagues describe teacher and administrator Joan Wilkosz, ’65 M.A., ’75 Ph.D., whose dedication to public school education touched thousands of students.

“My mother’s family valued education deeply,” says Joan’s daughter, Mary Wilkosz, ’84 B.S. “Her grandparents, who emigrated from Finland, had seven children, four of whom went to the University of Minnesota.”

Joan’s nearly 50-year career included teaching in the Hibbing, Duluth, and Minneapolis public schools; serving as an administrator in the Minneapolis school system; and teaching graduate courses at the U. Even after retiring in 2001, she remained dedicated to her profession, helping teachers get recertified.

After she died in August 2017, Mary established the Dr. Joan R. Wilkosz Fellowship for Public School Leadership. “My mother worked full time, was a single parent, and got through school with the help of financial aid. This fellowship will be awarded to individuals who, like her, demonstrate a commitment to public education, leadership qualities, and financial need.”