For Pat Schall: The Contagion of Courage

Dear NJCTE Members:

I have some sad news to report. On April 6, NJCTE leader and past-president Pat Schall passed away after her battle with colon cancer. Our organization has lost a great leader and a wonderful colleague. I know all of you who knew Pat know what a special person she was. I was lucky to have known and learned from her.

Some of you may know Pat from her wonderful writing on our NJCTE blog. Of the many pieces she wrote, this one caught blog editor Susan Chenelle’s attention (and heart), and this one offers advice very relevant to this strange and anxious time.

We hope to do more to commemorate her tenure and accomplishments with NJCTE.

In the meantime, below, find Susan Reese’s wonderful tribute to Pat.

Audrey Fisch

President, NJCTE

The Contagion of Courage

A woman of great worth has left us. There is a space in my air as I consider a world, currently consumed in great loss from COVID-19, that must suffer yet another vacancy. Patricia L. Schall, a truly courageous woman, has succumbed to colon cancer, leaving behind an army of devoted students, colleagues, friends, and family.

Pat was an educator of excellence! She taught by example; her text gave us life lessons. She was generous with her resources, unsparing with her praise, and relentless in her pursuit of achievement. She did all of this with an admirable reserve and restraint. She advanced the idea, the proposition, the goal rather than her desire to stand in the spotlight.

NJCTE became better because Pat took a leadership role. Her initiatives involved supporting and recognizing teachers who declared their quest for excellence. She designed a program to recognize two significant NJCTE contributors: Marcia Holtzman and Jerry Weiss. The NJCTE Marcia Holtzman Preservice Teacher Scholarship Award identifies and honors the commitment of those teachers entering the field. The NJCTE M. Jerry Weiss Early Career Teacher Scholarship Award recognizes those in their early teaching careers who are making a difference.

Through Pat’s desire for preservation, the NJCTE archive came into being. Consulting with Peter Wosh, an NYU archivist and historian, Pat selected important documents and in the process discovered that NJCTE had been founded the same year as NCTE. Pat arranged a centennial celebration. Peter called for reservations at a nearby restaurant to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Peter and Pat have been married for nearly 34 years.

Along with Donna Jorgensen, Pat shaped Project SPARK and handed it off to Patricia Hans in the North and Denise Weintraut in the South. Sharing Passion and Rekindling Knowledge became the plan for small groups to discuss their educational concerns.

Through Pat, NJCTE gained our banner. Her former student’s students created a dozen self-portraits that amalgamated into a banner representing the many faces of NJCTE members.

Although more tributes can be ascribed to Patricia L. Schall, perhaps the most significant one is this – “She plays well with others.” Pat has always been a team player. She joined with Joe Pizzo to assume the leadership of NJCTE after the sudden death of the president. Joe notes, “She was a mentor to us all.” Her legacy will be her encouragement, enthusiasm, and kindness.

Pat herself selected these words in an email. They seem most appropriate in this time of loss.

“There is no more liberating, no more exhilarating experience than to determine one’s position, state it bravely, and then act boldly. Action creates its courage; and courage is as contagious as fear.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

–Susan Reese

Susan Reese is a member of NJCTE and the last past president.

New Jersey Council of Teachers of English
New Jersey Council of Teachers of English, the New Jersey state affiliate of NCTE, the National Council of Teachers of English



For Pat Schall: The Contagion of Courage

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