Mildred Jones Fisher Lockridge, a community activist, day care center director, and educator for more than six decades in the D.C. and Virginia school systems, died July 21, 2023. She was 92.
Baby Mildred was born on Aug. 26, 1930, in Washington, D.C. She grew up during the Great Depression and World War II.
During those hardscrabble years, her parents and grandparents taught her the value of hard work, independence, self-reliance, and perseverance, family members attest.
After graduating from Armstrong High School in the segregated Division II of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) in 1948, a young Mildred — partly at the suggestion of her “cousin” Bradford Tatum — began studying elementary education at Miner Teachers College (later part of the University of the District of Columbia).
She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954 and began teaching at Smothers Elementary School that September. After 12 years teaching fifth and sixth grades, Miss Jones, as she was then known, became a demonstration teacher at Goding Elementary. Her talent for inspiring confidence in learners did not go unnoticed, and soon, after the receipt of a National Science Foundation fellowship, she got married and became Mrs. Fisher.
After receiving a Master of Arts degree in Administration and Supervision in February 1968 from George Washington University, the then Mrs. Fisher became an assistant principal at Lucy Ellen Moten Elementary School at the top of the Hill in Anacostia.
Even with a student census of more than 1600, Mrs. Fisher knew every child by name and the sound of their voice. She visited each of their homes and met their parents. The expectation was clear: she wanted the best for everyone and would settle for no less than excellence at the school.
The commitment Fisher had for her children sparked a love with community activist and former DC Board of Education member R. Calvin Lockridge who called their relationship love at first sight. The two were married for more than 39 years.
Mrs. Lockridge fashioned Moten into a community with a pride in Black culture running throughout. Moten’s cheerleading squads, safety patrol drill teams, student and teacher talent shows, school assemblies, and senior class trips to Canada and Disney World were legendary and the envy of other schools.
After 11 years at Moten, and a brief sabbatical during the 1976–1977 school year, where she completed the coursework towards a Ph.D. in Education Administration at Atlanta University as a Rockefeller Fellow, Mrs. Lockridge became the principal of Frederick Douglass Junior High School before ultimately opting to take early retirement from the DCPS in 1980.
However, 18 months following her retirement from the DCPS, Lockridge accepted a joint appointment in the Alexandria (Virginia) Public Schools as principal of Maury and Lyles-Crouch elementary schools.
During her tenure at both schools and later solely as principal of Maury, Mrs. Lockridge was featured three times in the Washington Post for her exemplary performance, and in 1990, she received the Washington Post Company Education Foundation’s Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.
Once she retired from the Alexandria Public Schools in June 1994, Lockridge continued to support families and children’s learning as director of the Alternative Learning Center of the Alexandria Redevelopment & Housing Authority.
After leaving the Housing Authority in 1997, Mrs. Lockridge implemented the model she developed as the director of Allen Chapel AME Church Day Care Center and later with DCPS in the Ward 8 Parent & Family Resource Center Parent-Child Learning Partnership in Action Saturday workshops at Mary Church Terrell Elementary School.
In 2019, after more than 60 years as an educational professional, Mrs. Lockridge found the time for tutoring and advocating for children to the extent that her health permitted.
Funeral service for Mildred Lockridge will be, Thursday, Aug. 17 at Union Wesley AME Zion Church, 1860 Michigan Avenue, Northeast, Washington, D.C. 20018. The visitation is 9 a.m. and the service is11 a.m.