By Todd Martin
Honoring a beloved educator and community trailblazer, a huge crowd filled Alice W. Douse Elementary School to celebrate a life that will continue to inspire.
A large group of educators who worked alongside the former teacher and principal and many Douse family members spoke of a woman renowned for her love for children and care for school staff and a rock-solid faith that influenced legions of central Texans.
She was the first African-American female principal in KISD and Board of Trustees President Corbett Lawler said it was “the content of her character” that made her name ideal for a school.
“She and I were principals together,” Lawler told the huge crowd gathered at the new elementary school. “She was a voice of reason. I never saw her angry.”
She began teaching in 1964 at Marlboro Elementary School in Killeen. She was eventually an assistant principal at Pershing Park Elementary School and a district elementary science consultant.
She was appointed principal at Haynes Elementary School, where she served nine years. Next, she was the first principal at Hay Branch Elementary School when it opened. She remained there 10 years. She retired in 1996 after 33 years as an educator.
Douse continued to be active in the community through service organizations and her church. She passed away in 2016.
She and her husband Marion Douse had four daughters. One of them, Glenda Douse McKinnon, spoke passionately Saturday about her mother’s deep commitment to family, faith, education and community.
As a child, Douse “was always reading, doing something or delegating something for someone else to do,” McKinnon said. “Her mind was never dormant or unfocused. If it could be done, she was going to figure out a way to do it.”
A woman of wisdom known to seek God’s counsel, “nothing just happened with her,” her daughter said. “My mother created an atmosphere that provided opportunities for improvement.”
Just a few years ago, at the age of 84, Douse was looking to improve her mind taking a computer course, McKinnon said, noting that her mother didn’t hesitate to call her for assistance with homework. “That’s who she was, always learning.”
Imagining her longtime educator mother looking on at the dedication of a school named in her honor, McKinnon said, “My mom is looking down at every educator here today and smiling. She set a standard for every person at the schools she helped lead.
“In close I would like to say, there is no room for mediocrity here. There is no room for indifference here. There is no room for average. She would probably say, ‘You are here to serve every student every day.’”
The Douse family donated numerous items, including books from Douse’s library to the school library. Pieces of artwork special to Douse also hang in the school. The handwritten letters she wrote to Craft and to the Board of Trustees after the naming of the school are also framed and hanging in the office area.
In a prayer during the ceremony, the Rev. Rodrecus Johnson, Jr. referenced the life of a great woman that lives on and a sacred space of education where students will learn of Douse’s integrity, courage, strength, tenacity and faith.
September 9, 2017