Remembering Rick DuFour

Like hundreds of others, I have been following the hopes and disappointments Rick expressed over many months in his Caring Bridge updates.

And although recently the end appeared inevitable and merciful, I was deeply saddened when it occurred last week.

Three attributes come to mind when I think of Rick.

Tenacity. Against the illness that eventually took his life. In promoting ideas and practices that would benefit tens if not hundreds of thousands of teachers, administrators, and students around the world.

Engagement. In study and writing. In pursuit of excellence in all parts of his life. With Professional Learning Community colleagues and “students.” With Adlai Stevenson High School District 125. With Learning Forward (which was known as the National Staff Development Council when I first came to know Rick more than 25 years ago). With those with whom he shared the travails of his illness and treatment as he proved a steadfast and honest correspondent from a land he had not hoped to visit.

Love. For Becky and for his family and friends. For his work in all its manifestations.

I have heard it said that each of us dies three times—when our bodies lose their life force, when our physical manifestation is interred, and when our names are no longer spoken.

While Rick’s physical presence is no longer with us, his name will be passed down among generations of educators as an idea or practice is explained or his spirit is evoked as an exemplar of what we individually and collectively hope to become.

14 Responses to “Remembering Rick DuFour”

  1. 1 rickrepicky February 12, 2017 at 9:18 am

    With the passing of Dr. Rick DuFour, I lost my education hero. No one has ever devised a better system for school improvement, and just as importantly, no one could explain it better either on stage or in print. It is fitting that one of his last writings was “In Praise of the American Educator.” What a tribute to the people and profession he loved. This book lifted countless educators’ spirits who have struggled with the false image of failure as portrayed by the questionable evaluation systems he frequently dismantled. Rick’s work lives on in my area of Macomb County (MI).

  2. 3 Jpk February 12, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    Beautiful stated. Thank you for reminding us of Rick’s attributes.

  3. 4 Dianne DeMille February 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    He was truly a mentor to many. We will all miss him!

  4. 5 Cordy Rodriguez February 12, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Rick made so many contributions in the field of Education he will be missed by Educators children parents. Thank you for everything you did for all of us.

  5. 6 Katharine Weinmann February 12, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    I am sorry to read of Dr.Dufour’s passing. I knew that he had been ill. Yes, his work lives on.

  6. 7 Adriana Garza February 12, 2017 at 7:07 pm

    Beautifully written-Rick touched so many lives-proof that one person can truly change the world…

  7. 8 Joan Vydra February 12, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    Rick DuFour made an incredible difference in the lives of those he served through his efforts as a superintendent, educator, and consultant. I was lucky to work with Rick and to learn from and with him as our paths crossed in the world of NSDC and the Illinois state organization. Thanks for remembering him, Dennis.

  8. 9 cathygassenheimer February 12, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    What a beautiful tribute to Rick. He touched so many lives both directly and through his writings.

  9. 10 justinbaeder February 12, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    A beautiful remembrance.

    I had the privilege of seeing Rick at a PLC At Work conference as a teacher—and I’m sure that was a major inspiration to pursue the professional development work I do today. And I got to meet him briefly at a Solution Tree conference in 2015, again an inspiration to make a difference for as many people as possible.

    A giant who will not be forgotten. Thanks again, Dennis. Justin

    On Sun, Feb 12, 2017 at 4:04 AM, Dennis Sparks on re·sil·ience wrote:

    > Dennis Sparks posted: “Like hundreds of others, I have been following the > hopes and disappointments Rick expressed over many months in his Caring > Bridge updates. And although recently the end appeared inevitable and > merciful, I was deeply saddened when it occurred last week.” >

  10. 11 Stephanie Hirsh February 13, 2017 at 8:59 am

    Thank you Dennis. As we continue to mourn the loss of Rick, we must remember that we are responsible for his legacy by continuing the work that he championed.

  11. 13 Joanne Mattiucci February 13, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Beautifully written tribute, Dennis. Thanks.

  12. 14 Mike Ford February 13, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    I was always struck by Rick’s kindness, quick smile, insightful questions, and love of learning. As our paths crossed at NSDC conferences over many years, I was always grateful for his attitude and encouragement. His masterfully written words over the past year or so have been powerful reminders of the beauty and fragility of life. I’m grateful to have known him, and thankful to you for this remembrance.

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