Captain George Vancouver Julia Butler Hansen Carlos Bulosan Ernestine Anderson Kurt Cobain Bill Gates & Paul Allen Home
Search Encyclopedia
Advanced Search
Featured Essay
Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search
7100 essays now available      
Donation system not supported by Safari     Donate Subscribe


Cyberpedias Cyberpedias
Timeline Essays Timeline Essays
People's Histories People's Histories

Selected Collections
Cities & Towns Cities & Towns
County Thumbnails Counties
Biographies Biographies
Interactive Cybertours Interactive Cybertours
Slide Shows Slideshows
Public Ports Public Ports
Audio & Video Audio & Video

Research Shortcuts

Map Searches
Alphabetical Search
Timeline Date Search
Topic Search


Book of the Fortnight
Audio/Video Enhanced
History Bookshelf
Klondike Gold Rush Database
Duvall Newspaper Index
Wellington Scrapbook

More History

Washington FAQs
Washington Milestones
Honor Rolls
Columbia Basin
Walla Walla
Roads & Rails

Cyberpedia Library

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Stanford, John (1938-1998) Essay 3346 : Printer-Friendly Format

John Stanford (1938-1998) was the superintendent of Seattle Schools for just three years and seriously ill during the last few months, but he continued to maintain a high profile in the community as what he called a "children's crusader" (The Seattle Times). His loss brought an outpouring of tributes to his work and pledges to continue his vision of excellence in Seattle schools.

John Stanford spent 30 years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of Major General. He was recruited as superintendent of Seattle Public Schools in 1995 from the position of county manager in Fulton County, Georgia. Stanford immediately proposed sweeping changes in the way the district did business and how it served students. He became a celebrity in the city and during visits to schools, children would cluster around him and ask for his autograph.

On August 26, 1996, he addressed the Democratic National Convention in Chicago on the importance of public schools. Before the speech he remarked, "It's not political; not for me. I have children in school who are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and independents. I can't politicize the education of our children" (The Seattle Times).

On April 2, 1998, Stanford announced that he suffered from leukemia. He admitted that his self-imposed heavy workload may have caused him to dismiss the early symptoms of the disease. Two weeks after entering a hospital for treatment, he took an unauthorized leave of absence, walked two and a half miles toward home, and was stopped by Seattle Police. On May 6, 1998, he checked out of the hospital with the cancer in remission, and returned to work the next day.

The cancer returned and chemotherapy and stem-cell transplants were not successful. Stanford died at Swedish Medical Center on November 28, 1998.

"John dedicated every ounce of himself to our children," said Seattle Mayor Paul Schell (1937-2014). "He put public education at the top of the civic agenda, and leaves us with a legacy of community responsibility to our children and their education. It is now up to all of us to continue the fight, to strive to achieve the goals John laid out for Seattle's families and children" (The Seattle Times).

The school district memorialized Stanford by naming the John Stanford International School (an elementary school in the Wallingford neighborhood) in his honor. One of Stanford's objectives was to require that all students study a foreign language.

"Tribute to John Stanford," The Seattle Times, 2000 (; Joni Balter, "Remembering John Stanford From The Very Beginning," Ibid., November 29, 1998, (

< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >

Related Topics: Education | Biographies | Black Americans |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License

Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

John Sanford (1938-1998)
Courtesy Seattle Public Schools

Home About Us Contact Us Education Bookstore Tourism Advanced Search is the first online encyclopedia of local and state history created expressly for the Internet. (SM) is a free public and educational resource produced by History Ink, a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt corporation.
Contact us by phone at 206.447.8140, by mail at Historylink, 1411 4th Ave. Suite 803, Seattle WA 98101 or email