Don Carlisle Student Grit Award

Donald K. Carlisle, the recent superintendent of schools in Long Lake, NY and the beloved father of three daughters, passed away from cancer on June 1, 2017. He lived a life of gritty determination, which led to his own success improving schools and impacting thousands of lives as a school superintendent. 

He was raised in extreme poverty and neglect in Houston, TX (often experiencing hunger and abuse), yet he paid his way through college at the University of Houston. From there, he went on to earn a Master's degree and an EdD in education, all while he was working as a coach and teacher and supporting his family. His post-doctoral studies included a Harvard fellowship. 

As a school superintendent, he excelled at transforming failing schools, particularly those with a large economically disadvantaged student population and high achievement gap. Never forgetting his roots, he successfully reached out to students that faced seemingly insurmountable hurdles in their lives. He genuinely connected with these students and sought the most excellent teachers who saw the potential for success in every child: the children without a breakfast to eat, or the children struggling with self-doubt or past failure. He recognized from his own experience that courage can conquer all kinds of obstacles.

In honor of Don Carlisle's legacy, and in recognition of student courage and "grit" (a term Don loved),  all the money raised here will be used to begin a scholarship fund to award outstanding students in Long Lake, NY who have demonstrated these qualities.

Long Lake is a rural school district in upstate New York.  The first Don Carlisle Student Grit Award will be given at the high school graduation ceremony on June 23, 2017.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to this fund. 

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Kristin Carlisle 
Santa Fe, NM

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