In Memoriam: Linda McNeil, 1943-2021

Linda McNeil, the co-founder and longtime director of Rice University’s Center for Education, died on April 1. She was 77 years old.

A native of Fairfield, California, she grew up in the oil fields of West Texas before moving with her family to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She taught high school for a number of years before earning a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin in 1977.

Dr. McNeil taught at Harvard University, Stanford University, and the University of Washington. In 1988, she co-founded Rice University’s Center for Education as a way to use university resources, including academic research, to address educational inequity. The center designs, funds and operates programs to retrain urban teachers in their subject fields and in children’s learning and cultures. Under McNeil’s leadership, the center became a significant force for school change in Texas and across the nation by fostering close relationships with school practitioners, community leaders, policymakers, and children.

A prolific researcher, Dr. McNeil focused on urban schooling, teaching and learning, school curriculum, school organization and policy, and educational equity. She authored two books including Contradictions of Control: School Structure and School Knowledge (Routledge, 1988).

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