Addie Holsing

Addie Holsing at Willard in 1994.

Addie Holsing, a beloved educator and longtime English teacher taught for 40 years, nearly 30 of them at Willard. From her arrival as a new teacher in 1969 until her retirement in 1997, Addie Holsing played a vital role in the life of the school. She revived Willard’s Spring Day after it had lapsed in the 1980s, re-establishing a tradition that continues to this day.  She was known for her innovative approach in the classroom, and for her kindness and generosity to students and colleagues. “She changed my life by letting my class have a daily newspaper,” remembers writer Holly Goldberg Sloan, who attended Willard in 1971. “I will remember that class and Addie until my last breath.” Holsing was widely respected for her research on teaching and learning, particularly her work toward equality of access to learning. In the early 1990s she worked closely with principal Chris Lim and Ann Hiyakumoto to replace the “tracking system” at Willard with an approach that better supported students and teachers. She “taught writing and comprehension using brain-based strategies and multiple intelligences before the terms had ever been invented,” writes Heather Wolpert-Gawron, an award-winning California middle-school teacher who remembers Holsing as her first mentor. “[She] took me under her wing when the frustrations of teaching in an inner city school were almost too great for a newer teacher to bear without a veteran’s direction.”

After retiring from teaching, Holsing continued to work as a consultant, teacher mentor, and sought-after lecturer. Her many accomplishments included developing the ACORE curriculum guide and establishing Building Bridges, a summer institute to support at-risk students. “Only an extraordinary person can impact so many lives the way she did, as teacher, friend, mother, confidante,” wrote her friend Margarita Navarrete in a Facebook post.