On Monday, Austin ISD's Board of Trustees approved resolutions to honor two iconic figures of Austin's education scene—Willie Mae Kirk and Dr. Charles Akins.
Willie Mae Kirk
A longtime educator in AISD schools, Kirk played a pivotal role in the district’s desegregation during the late 1970s and early 1980s. In their resolution to honor Kirk, trustees said the Austin community “lost one of its greatest treasures” and that the resolution was “a lasting tribute to Ms. Kirk for her service to AISD, its students and families, and for her many contributions that touched so many lives in such positive and meaningful ways.”
Kirk was born on Feb. 4, 1921 in Manor, Texas and attended and graduated from the original L.C. Anderson High School in east Austin. She earned a bachelor’s of science degree in social science at Sam Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson University), and began a career with AISD in 1947 as an elementary school teacher. Kirk retired in 1982, but appeared often before the Board of Trustees through 2009.
Kirk passed away on Sept. 28 following a brief illness.
Dr. Charles Akins
An alum of AISD's Blackshear Elementary School, Kealing Middle School and the old L.C. Anderson High School, Akins has dedicated more than 50 years of his professional career toward the success of Austin's schools.
Three years into his teaching career, Akins was chosen as Teacher of the Year and then served as the first African-American teacher at AISD's Johnston High School (now Eastside Memorial). In 1973 he was chosen to act as the first principal of Anderson High School. He later went on to serve as an associate superintendent with the district. In 1988, the Board of Trustees unanimously decided to name then new Akins High School in his honor to recognize his lifelong accomplishments and contributions to the district.
The resolution honoring Akins states "Akins is a role model for all students and staff, with more to contribute in the years ahead."