I'm so sorry to hear of Walter Koetke's passing. Walter was the person who revealed to me the possibilities of educational technology. At his two-week summer workshop in 1980 he taught a group of teachers BASIC computer programming and introduced us to educational software. All through the course he eschewed jargon and left us with not only a strong foundation in programming but also a lasting lesson: it is possible to discuss technology and still use the English language.
Walter served as head of technology services for our district, so once the workshop ended he was available to answer questions and give encouragement. A good number of my students, I believe, will always remember his excellent "Survival Math" educational software series that promoted abstract thinking in addition to bolstering mathematical knowledge. Walter was an educational visionary as well. Addressing a group of educators just after the now famous "Nation at Risk" report was issued, Walter imparted to us that sense of urgency that has since fueled the educational reform movement. I will miss him.
I am so grateful that I knew Walter Koetke and so sad to hear that he has died. He was a great person in a family of great people. He was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.
Undoubtedly, Walter was a visionary. I was lucky enough to be part of the MSTC program from '90 - '94 and remember the first paper we had to write regarded whether a clone of a person had a soul. Right then, I knew the program was going to be a challenge. Even to this day, I don't believe other leading educators have caught up to the advances made by Walter Koetke.
I describe my high school experiences to other people and they are floored at the opportunities we had including:
- 0 hour (1 extra class)
- The ability to CREATE whatever class you wanted next year (e.g. Marine Biology for me)
- A senior seminar that "filled in the gaps" and made sure you left the program with the well rounded knowledge expected of every graduate
- Biofeedback machines, chemistry equipment, and a computer lab that put SHAME to my university
- Advanced Software availability (like Mathematica) that was still not fully used in many colleges.
- And yes, lunch time games of Indian Poker in the "lounge"
Walter also had the uncanny ability to attract the best of the best teachers. He also was able to raise money both through donations and from helping many student excel to National Merit scholars winning money and equipment for both the student and the school. Walter created an educational framework that could do nothing BUT succeed.
I feel deeply saddened by the loss of Walter and only kick myself for not tracking him down sooner considering how many times I think about his program. Condolences to Walter's family.
Our thoughts are with you in this time of loss. Mr. Koetke was not only a great educator, but a wonderful human being who touched so many of our lives in profound ways. Those of us who knew him at PLD will remember him for his signature socks and Birkenstocks (even in the middle of winter!); for those groggiest of zero hours, so early I once showed up wearing mismatched shoes; for asking thought provoking questions like, "Where is Sarah's mother?"; for encouraging us all to strive. Thank you for gifting us with your time on this earth, Mr. Koetke. You will be missed.
Our sincerest condolences. We both graduated from the MSTC program in 1996 and believe that what Mr. Koetke created there was ahead of it's time for the field of education. We can only imagine that he touched and changed the lives of many people.
With sympathy and warmth,
Am so very sorry to hear of Walter's passing. I worked with Walter at BOCES in Yorktown Heights many years ago. He used to bring one of his sons in with him sometimes I remember, possibly Walter. He was a brilliant man and very likeable always trying to help us novices at the time. RIP Walter.
I had the great privilege to work with Walter in the MSTC Program which he had established. He was truly a great educator and visionary. He brought many unique and inspiring challenges to our students. He made a great difference in many lives of our students here in Lexington He made many opportunities for them that they may not have had without his training and guidance..
I send my sincere condolences to his family. He was truly a very great person.
My deepest condolences to the Koetke family. I am very saddened by this news. It was a great privilege to be selected by Mr. Koetke in the first Dunbar MSTC class in 1990 and a life changing experience for which I am forever indebted. I have fond memories of pre-Calculus and Calculus class at 6:45 in the awesome MSTC lounge. Although I had to move away from Lexington between 10th and 11th grade, I have carried the lessons I learned from Mr. Koetke with me into a career in medicine and have thought about him often. Godspeed, and may you rest in eternal peace, Mr. Koetke!
I am so sorry for your loss, Koetke family. I have many memories of a man who challenged me to do my best, to not give up when the going got hard, and who made me aware of the existence of my current field, computational science. I was a member of the first MSTC class at PLD, and I went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science and work as a computational scientist first at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and now at another supercomputing center in Australia. I owe much of my success to the foundations laid by Mr. Koetke.
My sincerest condolences. Mr. Koetke was synonymous with the MSTC program and had such a profound impact on its students. Many of us owe our continued interest in math, science, engineering, and technology due to the program and his innovations in directing it. Truly, an unforgettable educator.
Our condolences to Mr. Koetke's family. Our Daughter, Stacy Eon (Miller)attended MTSC in Lexington and we really grew to appreciate his skill and dedication. He was the best educator we've ever met and he helped Stacy achieve her potential. He will be missed.
Mr. Koetke had a huge impact on my life. I graduated from MSTC in 1997 and it was Mr. Koetke who taught me to have confidence in my abilities. So many of his students now have such rewarding careers and lives, and we would not be where we are now without his influence. He will be missed.
Dear Koetke family,
I was also a participant in the MSTC program. I have many memories of Mr. Koetke's role in my high school experience. I particularly recall a research paper he gave us with a series of seemingly impossible questions: (e.g. How many ping pong balls would fit in the high school? How many letters are in the Joseph Beth book store?) And who can forget the Rube Goldberg machine competitions every year? I may have grumbled under my breath about some of the assignments at the time, but they taught me that with creative thinking, hard work, and judicious guesswork, seemingly impossible tasks can be completed. I'm indebted to Mr. Koetke and the other amazing teachers he selected for the program for giving me an educational experience I couldn't have gotten without MSTC.
Dear Carol and family,
You are all in my thoughts and prayers. I am sorry that I can't be with you today. May God give you strength and comfort.
Kathy Hollinger, Bloomington IN
Dear Mrs. Koetke and family,
Mr. Koetke was one of my favorite teachers at the MSTC. I remember the time he spent trying to teach me computer programing in BASIC and how incredibly patient he was. He would get so excited when he saw a light bulb go off in my head and knew that he had helped me figure it out. I was a member of the first MSTC class and Mr. Koetke's amazing passion for learning and desire to discover has always inspired me. It ultimately led me to become a pediatrician and a public health researcher at CDC where I have worked to improve the health of children in Africa by protecting them from measles, polio, malaria and influenza. I hope it will be of some comfort to know that his legacy includes countless people like me who received a better education and had many more doors open to them because of his teaching.
My deepest condolences to the Koetke family. Mr. Koetke was a visionary educator who I credit for shaping my academic career through the Math, Science, and Technology Center at Dunbar High School. He has touched the lives of so many students and will be missed.
Thank you Mr. Koetke for kindling my scientific interests in high school; those years have shaped the rest of my life.
Thanks for launching MSTC at Dunbar and helping to produce a generation of high-skilled graduates.
My sympathies and sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Koetke. I am a former student and great admirer of his. The MSTC Magnet Program at P.L. Dunbar in Lexington, KY changed my life, & I am forever indebted to Mr. Koetke for all that he taught me.
My condolences to the family. I remember Mr Koetke fondly - as a great teacher and a fascinating person.
Dear Carol and Family,
John and I will always cherish the wonderful times we spent with Walter and you. The joys we shared as a family will live on as beautiful memories that we will revisit time and time again. Our deepest sympathy to you and your sons. Love, Mara's parents, John and Dorothy Ratesic
I am very honored to have had Mr. Koetke as a classroom teacher 22 years ago. He was an inspiration, a fine educator, and a good man. My thoughts and prayers are with the Koetke family today.
Sincere condolences to the family and may you experience God's comfort during this time of loss.
Carol and Family,
I am so sorry at the loss of your wonderful husband, father, brother and grandfather. The photos are beautiful, testament of a life rich in love and happiness and beautiful places. My condolences are with you all.
Carol, Jo & I want to express our sympathy to you and your family for the loss of Walt. I have been in fear of his demise for over a year. I have always considered Walt one of the most important people in my life. He helped me grow up in so many important ways. I have always admired him greatly. Our get togethers in Bloomington have always been a highlight if my visits to Bloomington. By some stroke of fate, I am in Bloomington at this time and will be at his memorial service with Jo. If possible, I would love to get a chance to talk to you before we leave town on Saturday afternoon. I don't know how to reach you but if you read this before the service, my cell phone number is 908-268-0285
Don and I are so very saddened for you all and our prayers and hearts will be with you through this most difficult time.
Don and I will forever remember the wonderful time we spent at your home. It was a great blessing to me in reconnecting with Walter again. With much love to you all Don and Linda (Koetke) Todd