Last fall, the hearts of the Wilson community were heavy with the loss of our longtime friend and colleague, Ann Pearce. Ann was dedicated to the Wilson mission and worked tirelessly to achieve “literacy for all.” Her passion for teaching students to read is clear when looking at her impressive career.
Ann worked in education for more than 40 years, beginning in 1977 at Maryland Public Schools. During her time there, she served as a resource center teacher for grades K-6 with Frederick County Schools, as a fifth-grade special education teacher with Baltimore County Schools, and as a diagnostic prescriptive teacher with Wicomico County Schools. Then, from 1991 to 2002, Ann worked for New Jersey Public Schools as a learning disability teacher/consultant with Randolph Township Schools, Hopatcong Borough Schools, and Mansfield Township Schools.
Following her transformative efforts and accomplishments in these districts, Ann became a Wilson Trainer in 2002. Her knowledge and expertise quickly led to a Lead Trainer position, from which she soon transitioned to Literacy Specialist. In addition to her many Literacy Specialist duties, Ann became a pivotal member of the Fidelity Team, providing valuable oversight and support of the delivery and implementation of Wilson’s professional learning offerings.
Through these roles, she was instrumental in Wilson’s work and outreach in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. In fact, she guided a group of fellow Literacy Specialists while they spent months supporting teachers and students in nearly 100 D.C. public schools. During this exciting albeit challenging endeavor, each member of the group looked to Ann as a leader—a steady, levelheaded, and committed mentor. Together with Linda Wernikoff, Wilson’s Senior Education Advisor, the group helped implement Wilson programs successfully throughout the district. As a result, the Washington D.C. school system experienced a significant academic turnaround; city officials recognized Wilson’s program implementation as a key factor in this improvement.
Aside from coaching in classrooms, Ann led and contributed to many Wilson projects including the development of presentations, articles, and new products. Most of all, she was kind and caring to all who knew her.
“Ann was such a good friend,” says Kimberly Gillingham, Wilson’s Senior Director of Professional Learning/Field Implementation. “Whenever she was traveling nearby, she always made sure to connect and visit with the people she knew. And when you were working with her in the field, you were in good hands. Not only was she supportive on the job, but she always knew the best places to stay and eat. Ann was truly generous in her knowledge and in her friendship.”
When she wasn’t helping teachers and students, Ann enjoyed traveling, trying out new recipes, and planning family gatherings. She also liked exploring the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Delaware’s beaches with her husband, Gary, on foot or by bicycle. Ann often hosted family, friends, and colleagues at the family’s summer cottage in Conneaut Lake, PA. She was especially happy when spending time with her four grandsons, Alex (6), Grant (4), Garrett (5), and Samuel (4), and did so as often as possible.
Ann’s life work was lauded by Barbara Wilson, author and Wilson co-founder.
“It is difficult to capture in words all that Ann contributed to the Wilson mission. She was an amazing educator—steady and sure in her guidance of teachers and trainers. Because of her deep knowledge and her mild but confident manner, she made a great impact on many lives. She will long be remembered as a leader and coach, but most of all, as a great friend.”
Ann will be missed by the Wilson community and remembered fondly for her hard work and contributions to literacy.