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In Memory of Sue Wilson Stafford

May 26, 2017

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 Stafford.

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 Comstock.

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.

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