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Dr. Rita Pierson: The TED community reflects

Posted by: Emily McManus
Rita Pierson, center in red, stands with fellow speakers from TED Talks Education. From left, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, Bill Gates, host John Legend, Sir Ken Robinson, Dr. Pierson, Dr. Geoffrey Canada, Malcolm London, Ramsey Muhallam and Pearl Arredondo. Photo: Ryan Lash

Rita Pierson, center in red, stands with fellow speakers from TED Talks Education. From left, Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, Bill Gates, host John Legend, Sir Ken Robinson, Dr. Pierson, Dr. Geoffrey Canada, Malcolm London, Ramsey Muhallam and Pearl Arredondo. Photo: Ryan Lash

This short post collects messages and reflections on Rita Pierson, who passed away Friday in Texas. If Dr. Pierson’s talk or work touched your life, please share in the comments below.

So very sorry to have this terrible news. I only met Dr. Pearson on the day of the recording and was deeply impressed as we all were by her passion, vivacity and rare understanding and young people and education. A truly tragic loss.
– Sir Ken Robinson

What a devastating loss for so many whose lives she touched — and changed. We at PBS are so grateful to have been able to share Dr. Pierson’s message through the TED Talks Education special, and hope her loved ones find some small solace knowing her memory and her message will continue to inspire for many years to come.
– Beth Hoppe, PBS Chief Programming Executive and GM, General Audience Programming

She was such a force. I’m so glad we got a chance to share her light with the world.
– TED curator Chris Anderson

Rita Pierson was a truth teller who dedicated her life to the transformation of the educational system. With her passing, students and educators have both lost one of their most inventive, passionate and articulate advocates.
– Playwright Lynn Nottage

A true loss. I am so glad to have had the chance to meet her. When my kids watched the TED education special, they said: “You were OK, Mom, but that funny teacher was so much better.”
– Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth

She was such a force on behalf of so many young people. So glad she heard from so many people thanking her for her TED Talk.
– Patricia de Stacey Harrison, President and Chief Executive of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting

Her talk was my only experience of her, and through it she hit me like a thunderbolt, with her vitality and chutzpah, her deep wealth of experience and radiant love.
– TED video editor Marla Mitchnick

There are some voices in education that are so uniquely authentic that they move all who listen to take action. Rita was such a voice. We all learned and became students when she spoke. She made us laugh and cry. She made us better educators. Dr. Rita Pierson was a real superstar. The entire education community mourns her passing.
– Dr. Geoffrey Canada

Comments (6)

  • Richard Stockwell commented on Jul 21 2013

    I’m so very sad to hear Rita has passed on. I saw Rita’s talk only this month and I was inspired. Nothing will give me greater pleasure than to continue to spread her wonderful idea. God bless you Rita.

  • Conrad Montgomery commented on Jul 6 2013

    Powerful, insightful, and 100% spot on. Very sad she has passed on, however I am absolutely sure she has left a legacy that will live on in her students, her coworkers, and also in me.

  • Walter Reese commented on Jul 2 2013

    Praise God for allowing one of his angels to grace the world and others with Dr. Pierson’s presence. I was geniunely captivated by her obvious passion for children. Anytime an ambassador for children leaves this world, it is a tremendous loss. I only hope and pray that her passion for a relationship with Christ was as evident as her passion for children receiving a RIGOROUS, RELATIONAL, and RELEVANT education. I only hate I was unable to meet and thank her for her leadership; here’s to a hope we meet on the other side as siblings in Christ Jesus.

    Her family will be in my family’s prayers now and long after the emails, home visits, phone calls, and texts stop.

    God Bless!

  • Paula Naugle commented on Jun 30 2013

    I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Dr. Pierson in person. I have watched her TED talk many times and am moved to tears and laughter each time I view it. I am truly saddened by her passing. May all of us continue to spread her words and be champions to our students.

  • Jeanie Greenidge commented on Jun 30 2013

    The message of Dr. Pierson’s talk carried me a long way this year. She had the integrity and passion of someone who truly walked the walk. I am grateful to have been able to hear her speak – and my sincere sympathy to those who loved her.

  • commented on Jun 29 2013

    Reblogged this on Myaz_Nuggetz.