|The Washington Post, Washington, D.C. - April 15, 2000
Harold M. Wilson, 83, a retired Arlington County associate
superintendent for instruction who was instrumental in establishing standards for courses
that meet university requirements, died of cancer March 24 at his home in Mount Jackson,
Shenandoah County, Virginia.
Dr. Wilson, a former teacher and high school principal, was responsible for the
instructional programs of Arlington County's 30 elementary schools, six junior high
schools and three high schools during his tenure from 1964 to 1980.
He also oversaw a night school program for young and older adults, a program for deaf and
blind students and the hiring of health services staff and curriculum and counseling
A soft-spoken man, he was considered the school system's philosopher and historian.
Before becoming an associate superintendent, he was principal of Wakefield High School for
11 years, beginning when the school opened in 1953.
Concerned about the relatively few Arlington students attending college, he developed a
three-year program to have the school's curriculum accredited by the Southern Association
of Colleges and Schools, of which he was a trustee and president.
Dr. Wilson encouraged county staff, teachers, students and parents to work together on
improving curriculum standards. He also organized visiting committees of federal
education officials and college professors. The program became a model for other
He was born in Vincennes, Inddiana. He had worked as a teacher in Indiana and served
in the Army during World War II. After the war, he graduated from George Washington
University, where he also received a masters degree and a doctorate in education.
He had served on GWU's staff for 10 years as an instructor of educational psychology,
secondary classroom instruction, educational sociology, history and philosophy of
education, and educational supervision and administration.
Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth P. Wilson of Mount Jackson; three
children, James H. Wilson of Vienna, Kathleen E. Becker of Newport, North Carolina, and
Judith A. Bell of Mount Jackson; a sister; and five grandchildren.
Wakefield High School Alumni
Dr. Harold Wilson Dies
Dr. Harold M. Wilson, Wakefield's first principal who held that
position for 11 years from 1953 to 1964, died of cancer at his home in Mount Jackson,
Virginia on March 24, 2000. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Elizabeth R
Wilson of Mount Jackson, Virginia, and three children: James H. Wilson of Vienna,
Virginia; Kathleen E. Becker of Newport, North Carolina and Judith A. Bell of Mount
After leaving Wakefield, he served as Associate Superintendent in Arlington from 1964 to
1980. In this position, he was responsible for the instructional programs of Arlington's
thirty elementary schools, six junior high schools and three high schools and was credited
with establishing standards for courses that met university requirements. In
an article in the Washington Post, Dr. Wilson was called 'the school system's philosopher
and historian". From the beginning of the Wakefield Foundation, he and Mrs.
Wilson have been generous supporters and frequently sent short notes of encouragement.
Dr. Wilson is remembered with a great deal of fondness and respect. He set a
very high standard for all those who followed him