In memoriam: William ‘Bill’ Glenn
March 5, 2021
William “Bill” Glenn, an associate professor of educational leadership in the Virginia Tech School of Education, died on January 30, 2021, after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 55.
A native Californian, Glenn earned his B.A. in biochemistry and philosophy from the University of California, San Diego, and a juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley. His commitment to lifelong learning and excellence did not allow him to stop there. He added a master’s in education administration from California State University before earning his Ph.D. in education, policy, planning, and administration from the University of Southern California’s Rossier School of Education.
He started his career as an attorney in 1991, but found the work unrewarding. It was while working with children at the local Boys and Girls Club that he found his passion, teaching. He firmly believed every child has the capability to learn. Determined to ensure equity in education, Glenn began his career in education as a first grade teacher in an urban district.
Teaching and education remained his passion, and, after earning his Ph.D., he joined Virginia Tech in the Washington, D.C., area, where he continued his work as an education finance consultant as well as teaching educational leadership courses. He was also a former assistant director of the school for the greater Washington, D.C., metro area.
Glenn’s work and research focused on the effects of legal, economic, political, and school-level variables on student achievement, with an emphasis on narrowing the achievement gaps related to race, poverty status, and gender. His interests expanded to the examination of elementary-school STEM leadership. Above all, he believed in his students, assisting, mentoring and coaching them.
In December 2020, he achieved his goal of publishing an article with his wife, Adriana Glenn, an assistant professor in the School of Nursing at The George Washington University in Ashburn, Virginia, titled “Educational Leaders’ Need for Health Literacy During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” In it, they addressed the challenges that administrators and school leaders face, especially during this time of political and social discord. Health literacy, they argued, is a vital skill for all educational leaders — and a need that has been highlighted by recent events.
Throughout his illness, Glenn and his wife maintained a blog that reflected their love, warmth, and dedication to each other, their students, and their work. Over the many months, they shared much of their lives, musings, and insights. Glenn touched the lives of many, and he was widely memorialized by former students, colleagues, and friends on social media.
Kenneth Wong, associate dean of the Graduate School and director of the Northern Virginia Center, offered these remarks, “It seems fitting at this time to celebrate the many students who have benefited from his dedication, mentorship, and empathy.”
Jodie Brinkman, co-coordinator of the Educational Leadership program area in the School of Education wrote, “There are so many stories I could tell about his passion, humility, graciousness, and wisdom. He was such a wonderful colleague and mentor, and we will miss him.”
In addition to his wife, Glenn is survived by their sons, Liam and Aidan. He was predeceased by daughter Avery Carline.
Written by Sharon Stidham
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