Austin educator and trailblazer Dr. W. Charles Akins dies

Dr. W. Charles Akins, the namesake of Akins High School, has passed away. He was 84.

Akins High School principal Brandi Hosack says Dr. Akins was her mentor and he had one astounding resume. When she met with him, she always brought her notepad.

“When you get in front of a legend, you take those opportunities to learn,” said Hosack.

Dr. Akins died in the morning on March 29 but his love for education, and his personality, will live forever.

“My heart is very heavy today. When I found out of his passing, very heavy because I feel like I don't have a friend to call on,” said Austin Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz.

Austin ISD officials say Dr. Akins' career started in 1959 as a teacher at old Anderson High on the east side.
Then in 1964 he became the first black teacher in an integrated school in Austin ISD when he got hired at Johnston High School. His accomplishments were so noteworthy, the district named a school after him.

“He has shown us what it looks like to overcome adversity and taught us that education above all else is one's greatest asset,” said Hosack.

At a time of segregation and racism, Dr. Akins made his career a priority. He later worked as assistant principal at Johnston, Lanier and old Anderson, before getting a promotion to principal at the new Anderson High School. Depsite the impressive resume, he remained humble.

“His personality was full of high spirits, love and devotion to his hard working students,” said Saruzai Chigubu, student at Akins High School.

Although Austin will miss him, Dr. Akins' words will still live in the hearts of all those he touched.

“He says every time he gets in front of us, that eagles soar and he means it. Our kids will soar for him,”  said Hosack.

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