Sue Wilson Stafford, school namesake and beloved FISD educator
who retired this month after 48 years of teaching, 38 of those in
Frisco ISD, died Wednesday, May 24 at her home in Frisco. A visitation will be
held Friday, May 26 from 6 to 8 PM at Stafford Middle
School. A memorial service will be held Saturday, May 27 at 10 AM, also
At her retirement reception on May 10, which ran 30 minutes into
overtime and drew a huge crowd of coworkers, students and
friends, she said that it had been her goal to make it to 50 years
in education. Her health was failing when she retired, but still her
death was a shock to all who knew her.
Deputy Superintendent of Support Services Doug Zambiasi made
the guests at her retirement reception burst into laughter when
he told about his first year as a new principal at Frisco Middle
School. After a few months, Ms. Stafford came in and gave him
an unsolicited evaluation of his job performance. She continued
to do this every few months for the first two or three years he was
a principal. When he finally got the courage to remind her that he
was her boss, she told him she realized that but thought he would
appreciate her advice. He admitted that he did.
Stafford was born in Madill, Oklahoma in 1946. She graduated
from Madill High and Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
She began teaching in 1969 in Oklahoma and moved to Frisco
ISD in 1979. She taught at the elementary, middle and high school
levels and served as the District’s migrant education coordinator
from 1983-1994. At the time of her retirement, she was teaching
middle school students in the alternative program at the Student
Opportunity Center and for many years had also taught English as
a Second Language and GED preparation classes to adults in the
evenings along with her friend and fellow school namesake, Joyce
Her work with students always extended outside of the classroom
and she worked countless hours for Frisco’s youth over the years.
People in need of food or clothing always knew they could go to
Stafford for advice and help. Those who wanted to give to others
also knew that they could count on Stafford to pass on their extra
food, beds, clothes or shoes to a child or family in need – no
questions asked, no names revealed.
She served on the Frisco Housing Authority Board of
Commissioners and the YMCA Board of Directors and she and
longtime civil servant Gary Burns founded the Frisco Children’s
Fund to assist Frisco families in need for more than 20 years.
A scholarship fund in her honor through the Frisco Education
Foundation provides college money for FISD seniors. Sue’s
commitment to others garnered her the Frisco Chamber of
Commerce Golden Eagle Award in 1990 and the Citizen of the Year
Award in 1998. She was also a lifetime member of the PTA.
Stafford was honored in October of 2015 during homecoming at
her alma mater, Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant,
Oklahoma. Stafford was selected as a Distinguished Alumni for
her contributions in education.
Sue’s mother was a teacher and both of her children, FHS
graduates Kari and Brooke, are teachers in other school districts.
Her legacy also continues through the successes of young people
she helped mentor and considered family. Three of those young
men, Lupe, Javier and Gerardo Gaona, graduated from Frisco High
School and went on to further their education. Javier and Gerardo
live in Frisco and work for FISD.
For years, people in the know in Frisco have been aware that
Stafford’s home garage was a place to leave donations and a place to drop by and pick up a pair of jeans or some children’s clothing if needed. If you wanted you could knock on the back
door and say hi – or you could just go on your way. It was all done
on the honor system. It worked because people loved “Miss Sue.”
Her legacy lives on – in every person she touched in life and in the
students who pass through Sue Wilson Stafford Middle School.