In Memoriam - Stephen J. Kurcis

Stephen J. Kurcis

Stephen J. Kurcis former Yorktown Principal died April 14, 2000. In addition to having served as Principal at Yorktown, Mr. Kurcis, 61, had also served as the Arlington County Director of instruction for two years. Mr. Kurcis, a former English teacher, had been Yorktown’s vice principal for eight years when the Arlington County School Board named him principal in 1978. He held that post unit 1987, when he stepped down because of health reasons. During his tenure, he was viewed as tough and caring, a strict disciplinarian and compassionate administrator who juggle the demands of parents, students and teachers. When he felt he could no longer perform his job because of multiple sclerosis, he sought to turn his departure into a life lesson about perseverance.

"Although I don’t have control over this disease, I do have control over my attitude and my outlook on life," Mr. Kurcis wrote in a letter to students upon his departure as principal. "There are two kinds of handicapped people – the kind you feel sorry for and the kind you admire. I intend to be the later kind, and I hope that when you experience setbacks in life you will face them head on and fight as I intend to do."

He spent two years with Arlington’s central administration as director of instruction before retiring on disability in 1989.

Mr. Kurcis, was a native of Windber, PA. He graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and receive a master'’ degree in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He came to the Washington area in 1964, when he joined Stratford Junior High School in Arlington as an English, social studies and physical education teacher. He also taught English at Washington-Lee High School. In 1988, he was one of six people honored by the Catholic University annual Thanksgiving tribute for contributions to the Washington area’s quality of life.

Our heart-felt condolences go out to his wife of 29 years, Ellen Kurcis of Arlington, his three children, Brian, John and Stephanie Kurcis, all of Arlington, and his four sisters. Thank you Mr. Kurcis for everything.