(UPDATE: Jan. 12, 2024, 12:27 p.m.. ACPS has announced a Celebration of Life for Louis Kokonis. See details at bottom.)
ALEXANDRIA, VA-Louis Kokonis, a longtime math teacher with Alexandria City Public Schools, passed away Jan. 4, 2024, at the age of 91. He began teaching in 1958 but started with the school system the following year at Frances C. Hammond High School (now Hammond Middle School). For the majority of his six-decade-plus career, Kokonis taught at T.C. Williams High School/Alexandria City High School.
A little more than a year ago, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) celebrated Mr. Kokonis on his 90th birthday, recognizing his dedication to his students and the craft of teaching. A Zebra Press report covering the milestone says he taught algebra, calculus, and geometry, and along the way, enabled many to “overcome math anxiety.”
“I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher,” Mr. Kokonis recalled during an ACPS interview, “I was influenced by many of my high school teachers and for my love of math.”
He is credited as the longest-serving teacher in ACPS history.
John Porter, the principal at T.C. from 1984 to 2006, called him an “amazing man and dedicated educator.”
“The number of students he assisted and who acknowledged the difference he made in their lives numbers in the many thousands,” said Porter, who worked with Kokonis for 27 years in all.
Because Mr. Kokonis had no wife or children, he considered his students family. Of them, he said, “I hope as they grow older that they will always remain positive and enthusiastic about whatever they are doing and that they will not be discouraged when things get difficult.”
In 2019, he was honored by the Virginia General Assembly with House Joint Resolution No. 727. It stated: “Louis Kokonis has imparted his passion for lifelong learning to his students, many of whom went on to become physicists, engineers, doctors and professors.”
“Like the math he taught for 65 years, Mr. Kokonis was a constant in this ever-changing world. A fixture in the TCW/ACHS halls, he was a Titan in every sense of the word,” Vice Mayor Amy Jackson, a T.C. grad, told The Zebra.
Mr. Kokonis never thought of retiring, saying he would miss his fellow teachers and students. He lived to teach, and gave his colleagues this advice: “Be enthusiastic about whatever you are teaching. Enjoy being a teacher and always do your best. Try to help every student to achieve the best that they can.”
His legacy is celebrated with the Louis Kokonis Teachers’ Legend Scholarship, sponsored by the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria. At the family’s request, “condolences can be shared through the scholarship,” according to an ACPS press release announcing his death.
A Celebration of Life will take place Wednesday, Jan. 17 at 4:30 p.m. It will be held at Alexandria City High School’s auditorium (3330 King St.)
This report has been updated. An earlier version said the vice mayor was one of Mr. Kokonis’ students, which was incorrect.