Jerry W. Vlasak, Ph.D. With bravery, courage, patience, and compassion, Jerry William Vlasak, Ph.D., Houston Texas completed his earthly stay and entered into eternal peace Friday, August 30, 2013 at his home while surrounded by his loving wife and children. Jerry was born on June 1, 1935 in Corpus Christi, Texas, son of Ollie Lee and Thomas Martin Vlasak.|
Influenced by his parents' guidance and work ethic, Jerry pursued his education, where he excelled, achieving multiple degrees including a Ph.D. in Special Education Administration from The University of Texas at Austin. All of Jerry's professional life involved working on behalf of children with disabilities at the district, State, and Federal level. His life work touched millions of children, families, and the educators who serve them.
Jerry served in the Marine Corp from 1954 through 1958. He began his career as a teacher and later a guidance counselor, and as Director of Special education in the Corpus Christi Independent School District. He then moved to the state level where he served as the Director of Special Education Administration and the Assistant State Director of Special Education at the Texas Education Agency. In 1976, Dr. Vlasak received a presidential appointment to the United States Department of Education immediately following the passage of Public Law 94-142, the landmark legislation ensuring that every child with a disability receives a free and appropriate public education. Jerry served as compliance officer, section chief and branch chief. Jerry was responsible for the initial development of accountability procedures regarding each state's implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Following his successful tenure with the USDOE, Jerry and his wife, Dr. Frances Stetson returned to Texas where he served as an Assistant Superintendent with the Humble Independent School District. In 2003, Jerry served as Director for Public Education for the Brown Schools Education Corporation
In 2003, Jerry joined the private sector serving as Director for Public Education for the Brown Schools Education Corporation in Houston (2003- 2005) and as Vice President of Stetson and Associates, Inc., (2003-2013) a consulting firm where he continued to influence educational systems throughout the nation providing consultation to schools from his wealth of expertise. Jerry also volunteered his services as a trained mediator with the Harris County Dispute Resolution Center as a mediator for Children's Protective Services and various Harris County courts.
Throughout his career as an educator, Dr. Vlasak also worked as an adjunct professor at Gallaudet College, Washington D.C., Baylor College of Medicine, Texas A&M University, University of Houston-College Park and University of Houston Clear Lake City. Additionally he was a Facilitator for the Covey Leadership Center, Provo Utah and provided numerous trainings for "7 Habits of Highly Effective People" and other trainings sanctioned by the Covey Center. He has published many articles and conducted numerous presentations throughout the country.
Jerry spent the past five years as a volunteer at the MD Anderson Cancer Treatment Center in Houston, Texas. This experience mirrored his past successes. He contributed approximately 700 hours of service to this organization. While the accomplishments of Jerry Vlasak are numerous and indeed impressive, those who know him will remember him as a person of kindness and courage with an immense passion for those individuals with disabilities who need the support from others. His family and friends will remember him as a loving and devoted husband, proud father, generous and caring uncle, and charming and kind friend.
Jerry is survived by his beloved wife Frances Stetson, son Dr. Jerry Vlasak Jr. and wife Pamelyn, daughter, Becky Vlasak and her partner Lynn, and his sister Tommie Sue Vlasak.
The Family will receive friends and family at Klein Funeral Home, Tuesday, September 3, 2013 from 5 PM until 7 PM and will celebrate the life of Jerry William Vlasak at 2 PM, Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at St. Dunstan's Episcopal Church, 14301 Stuebner Airline Rd, Houston. Reception following the service at 13111 Holston Hills Drive, Houston. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting donations to Star of Hope Mission, www.sohmission.org.
Published in Houston Chronicle from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8, 2013