By Christopher Lehman on behalf of The Educator Collaborative family
These are words I never wanted to write: It brings me deep sadness to share with you that our friend and colleague, Dr. Rozlyn Linder, passed away this Thursday evening at 8:35PM with her family by her side.
Her husband, daughters, and many friends and family had been keeping close vigil since she was first rushed to the hospital on Tuesday after an apparent coronary failure.
For all of us, this is unthinkable, unimaginable.
Over these past impossible days, I’ve cried a lot. Many of us have as we’ve held on to hope from close and afar that she would pull through. Her husband, Chris, kept an online journal of these past days, whether you knew Roz well or only through her books, it gives you a glimpse into the power of their family bond, the strength her daughters carry, and the full pain of her departure.
We have all been crying and most certainly more tears will come. Frankly, as they should. This is the way things like this should go: the ground should shake, the sky should fall. Our world should pause to note we have lost a great one.
Roz brought a limitless drive and joyful spirit to her work. She touched countless lives as a teacher, coach, administrator, author, consultant, friend, daughter, sister, mother, wife and more.
You know her from her many books, school visits, and speaking engagements. You know her absolutely practical ideas that drove straight to the heart of student-centered teaching. You know her joy and dedication to work with and for teachers. If you were lucky, you maybe even knew her from her infectious smile and boundless faith in possibility for children.
I know her as a colleague and as a friend. Our phone calls—between we-two-talkers—could stretch on and on and never grow stale. Right when we thought it was time to hang up, one of us would remember something and we’d start up again. I know her from her intense love for her girls, the way she lit up when she spoke of them, we’d laugh about both of our preteens’ personalities, and revel in their growing identities and strength. I know her from her deep bond with her husband, the personal and professional relationships they shared and the way they forged uncharted territory together, built a life to match their dreams. I know her collegiality, her honesty, her laughs and her advice.
Here in our TheEdCollab family, one that we consider you all a part of, we know her for her unflappable drive. That is the thing that feels the most cruel about this moment: She wasn’t done. Roz carried the belief that she could make anything possible—for educators and students, for her career, for our little group here, and for her incredible family. She never stopped forging ahead. There were so many projects just on the horizon, so much more she had planned for the rest of us.
Her work has always touched us. Now her work is here for us to carry forward. Her mission is now yours, mine, all of ours.
I will close with a poem Heather Rocco shared with our group today. I read it, tears streaming.
In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
“In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.
With a very heavy heart,
Chris and The Educator Collaborative family
P.S. I remembered that we have some recordings of Roz in action, a few in particular that hold also special significance to me given these past days. There are a few others I know are floating around that I’m working on tracking down.
We are placing them all on this page (click here) if you would like to spend a little time with Roz in the coming days. Some include:
- A Gathering session led by Roz and her husband, Chris 💛
- A Gathering session led by Roz and one of her closest friends, and someone I am grateful helped us keep tabs over the past few days, Sarah Klein
- A Study Series session led by Roz that I was lucky to plan and present with her
- and more as we find them.
P.P.S. The family is planning services for after the holidays. We will share updates and ways to support the family and her legacy as they are determined.