Dr. Rex Fortune, who was a husband and father, an educator, author and advocate passed away on January 29, at the age of 81. He devoted his life to lifting up the most vulnerable students and closing the academic achievement gap and in doing so made a lasting impact on the lives of countless students and faculty members during his extensive career.
Born in 1942, Fortune earned his B.S. degree in biology and U.S. Army Commission from North Carolina A&T State University and then completed a M.A. in educational administration from the University of California, Berkeley and a Ph.D. in educational administration from Stanford University.
He worked as a teacher and administrator for many years, including as superintendent of the Inglewood Unified School District and the Center Unified School District and associate superintendent of Public Instruction for the California Department of Education under his mentor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Wilson Riles. Fortune also co-founded the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators (CAAASA).
Fortune founded the Fortune School of Education where he served as chairman of the board. He had several public schools named for him in the Sacramento region including Rex and Margaret Fortune Early College High School and most recently, Rex Fortune Elementary School in the Center Unified School District, opening in 2023. Fortune was known for his unwavering commitment to his students and staff, and his passion for education inspired many.
He was a mentor to many young educators and a friend to all. He was dedicated to making sure every student had access to quality education and the support they needed to succeed. He also created the Parenting Practices Academy, a resource empowering parents to become more involved in creating an environment that results in children being prepared for college.
Fortune published several books on education including “Bridging the Achievement Gap: What Successful Educators and Parents Do,” and “Leadership on Purpose: Promising Practices for African American and Hispanic Students.”
He is survived by his wife, three children and two grandchildren. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him, and his legacy will continue to live on through the countless lives he touched.