It was easy to look past Larry McQuillan these past few years. He’d smile at you at a conference but he wasn’t pushy about talking or getting attention. His ten years in education communications were for AERA and AIR not a hotshot new organization.  He wasn’t even a working journalist — any more.

But his recent passing — noted in a lovely remembrance from Patrick Riccards (The Loss of a Legend … and a Really Great Guy) and on Facebook — is a good reminder that there are many folks doing communications work or other kinds of advocacy who started out as journalists and in some cases (like McQuillan, who ended up covering the White House for Reuters) were quite accomplished.  

You, too, could end up doing something other than reporting about education. Many of us might end up that way. We’ll be lucky to get as many years as McQuillan got (though 70 seems much too soon). Time to start realizing that might not be such a bad thing — and that the people you see in front of you now aren’t the same as they were a decade ago — and you won’t be either. 

Meanwhile, you can find remembrances from his wife and others on Facebook.

Related posts: Education All-Star Gaynor McCown Gone Nearly 10 YearsRIP: William Taylor.

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Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at