Former County Education Liaison Remembered For Advocating For Students
PrinceGeorge’s County officials and residents are mourning the loss of Walter Dozier, 60, a former
Dr. Walter Lee Dozier
education liaison for the county executive’s office who died in his Capitol Heights home Monday after succumbing to a long-term illness.
Dozier, also a former Gazette reporter, was working with The Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center as its communications director and government relations officer at the time of his death.
Jacqueline Brown, the North Brentwood museum‘s executive director, said Dozier had been trying to work through a medical condition that came about after a complication from a back surgery at the beginning of the year.
“We feel like family to Walter,” she said. “Walter was a connector. He naturally connected people to other people.”
Dozier began working for the museum in 2009, after spending six years as an education liaison for the Prince George’s County government executive branch, and was responsible for coordinating county education outreach.
Prior to his role in county government, Dozier was a staff writer for The Gazette in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties from 999 to 2002 and a reporter at The Tampa Tribune from 990 to 999. He received a doctorate in applied anthropology from the University of South Florida in 999.
“Walter embraced Prince George’s as though he lived here his entire life,” said Vanessa Harrington, The Gazette’s Prince George’s County editor, who worked with Dozier. “He truly enjoyed helping people achieve their goals and focused greatly on ways to improve student achievement. He’ll be greatly missed.”
he museum posted a memoriam on its website at pgaamcc.org and is asking anyone with a connection to Dozier to send sympathy notes to Dozier’s mother in his hometown of Chicago.
Brown said Dozier had been pivotal in strengthening the museum and cultural center. She said he helped the museum apply for and receive a $10,00 cultural excellence grant from Wells Fargo in 2010, which has allowed the PGAAMCC to work with students from Suitland’s Center for the Visual and Performing Arts in a culture center program. She said he also helped acquire a $75,00 bond bill from the state to go toward adding a program and administrative office next to the museum and cultural center site, which is set to open in February.
“This museum meant a lot to him,” she said. “He always felt if children knew the stories from where they really came from, the real values and ethics and history, they would reassess their role and they would know they had a responsibility to contribute to the next chapter and story of African-American contribution.”
Yolanda Evans, the museum‘s public programs coordinator, said she was a close friend of Dozier’s and had known him since 2003. She said he spent several Christmases with her family and gave her children presents such as journals to practice their writing. She said her two children were looking forward to seeing Dozier this Christmas to show him the progress they’ve made in their journals.
“He was a very good friend, very intellectual and always inspired conversation around education,” she said. “He was very involved. He was a real giver.”
County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) said Dozier’s death is a tremendous loss for the county.
“He was a stellar individual and gave a lot for Prince George’s,” Baker said. “I considered him not only a colleague, but a friend.”
Brown said Dozier was the driving force behind the Prince George’s County’s Scholar Dollar program, an incentive effort that offers retail store gift certificates to students earning high grade point averages or similar scholastic achievements.