Dr. Gail Tompkins

We’re very sad to tell you that our much loved former SJVWP director, Gail Tompkins, passed away November 1, 2017. Gail, a prolific and influential writer about literacy, was a professor in the Literacy and Early Education department at Fresno State and served as SJVWP director from 1992-2005, influencing the practices of so many of us. She will be buried in Rhode Island on Nov. 10. Gail was an inspiration to so many of us, both in the Central Valley and across the United States. We’re so grateful for the ways that Gail helped us become better teachers.

Here’s the information about the Celebration of Life in Fresno and about charities:

Date of Celebration of Life in Fresno: Sunday, December 10, 2017

Location: the Terraces (San Joaquin Gardens) in their big room in the main building (on First Street, between Barstow and Bullard)

Time: 3-5 pm.

Her charities are:

American Humane Society:  1400 16th Street NW, Suite 360, Washington DC 20036
Heifer International:  1 World Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72202
Valley Public Radio:  2589 Alluvial, Clovis, CA 93611

If you make a donation in Gail’s name, Kim Clark asks that you notify her. Email us to get her address.

We’d love for you to share your memories of Gail in a comment on this post.

Gail Tompkins, 2010, Cape Cod (Photo Credit: Ann Brandon)
Photo Credit: Ann Brandon

4 thoughts on “Dr. Gail Tompkins

  1. Gail and I taught together at Fresno State. She encouraged me to publish and introduced me to her editor. She was an inspiration, both as a teacher and writer, and a loyal friend. She will be greatly missed.

  2. Gail was not only a wonderful professor, she was also an inspiration, sharing her knowledge and experience of publishing with CSUF/SJVWP teacher leaders. So many of us were able to see our best practices in print because of her–including me. She will be remembered by so many of us as a mighty force in educational leadership.

  3. It’s about 9:30 PST in California, 12:30 EST with Kim, Faith, and Buzz seeing to the services for Gail. As is the case with many, I could not make the journey back to Rhode Island to see her off on her final journey. I do think about the journeys that I have taken as a result of Gail. A trip to Washington DC to lobby on behalf of the Writing Project and the numerous journeys up and down the valley spreading the news about writing. Many of our journeys, and resulting friendships, began in one place: our home in the Writing Project with Gail at the center. At home there were chores to be done. Whether our chores centered around primary, upper grades, intermediate, high school, junior college or college each contributed to make our house whole. When we left home some of our journeys took us to publication, some to mentoring or some to leading professional development. Most of all our journeys took us back to our classrooms and the relationships that we fostered with children. Some of those relationships were easy, and our students moved forward with just a nudge. While others were complicated, required a greater investment of time and sometimes a shove. We are all fortunate and I will be forever grateful for the journey I was able to take with Gail. I hope they said some nice words for Gail on her final journey. Her life, after all, was all about words.

  4. Gail was a wonderful mentor! As a new faculty member at California State University, Fresno, she shared her wisdom and provided support and encouragement. I had the pleasure of sitting in one of her classes to learn literacy teaching strategies that were different than the techniques I had been taught. She helped me to connect to experts in the field of literacy and focused me on publishing. She served as a beacon and role model. She made the world a better place! Thank you, Gail, for sharing your light!!

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