As Killeen ISD students and staff members join the rest of the nation this month to celebrate African-American Heritage Month, a former local educator stands tall in memory as a respected, servant leader.
Alice W. Douse, Killeen ISD’s first female African-American principal, provided calm, courageous leadership to the community she loved.
Alice Douse KISD Educator 1964 - 1996
In 2017, KISD dedicated the new Alice Douse Elementary School, named for a former teacher and administrator who was the first female African-American principal in the district.
Douse and her husband Marion Douse had four children, Cathy, Mtisha, Glenda and Carla.
One of her daughters, Glenda Douse McKinnon said during the dedication that Douse’s brother and sister remembered their sister “Lil’ Alice” reading to them and giving them directions as children.
“Her mind was never dormant or unfocused,” a written copy of McKinnon’s reflections says.
Even after the longtime educator retired, she enrolled in a class to sharpen her computer skills and was known to contact her adult children to help her with homework, sometimes late at night.
“That’s who she was – always learning.”
Known as a strong, caring leader who took time to listen and to motivate, Douse served beyond her profession as an educator.
She was a charter member of a service sorority and a founding member of her church.
KISD Board Member Corbett Lawler said he met Douse in 1976 in a job interview when he was principal at the former Smith Junior High School. Eventually, the two were principals together and Lawler said that she was a voice of reason and that he never saw her angry.
She started working in KISD as a sixth-grade teacher at the Marlboro School in 1964. When that school closed, she moved to Pershing Park Elementary, where she became the district’s first African-American assistant principal.
From there, Douse became the district’s first elementary school science consultant before her appointment to principal of Haynes Elementary School, the first female African-American in that role, which she continued nine years until the opening of Hay Branch Elementary in 1986.
After 10 years as Hay Branch principal, she retired from a 33-year education career.
The Anderson Chapel AME Church dedicated the Marion J. and Alice W. Douse Community Centers.
In 2016, Mrs. Alice Wright Douse passed away. She was 86 years old. Her legacy of excellence lives on through the countless lives of students and staff she impacted.