Barbara Gillespie-Washington

Gillespie-Washington, Barbara

Barbara Gillespie-Washington grew up with eight siblings. Her parents created a home where there was a tremendous amount of caring and sharing. Barbara observed them always reaching out to help others, and it took root in her spirit: “I was reminded, it's not what you have, it's what you do with what you have that makes the difference.” Although her parents did not have a lot, they accomplished a lot, and showed joy, commitment and enthusiasm in what they did.

“I am grateful for the passion I feel. Passion is just a great love, a love that produces conviction. Passionate conviction will motivate you to do all you can for whoever you can, whenever you can, in all the ways you can.”

Mrs. Gillespie-Washington graduated from the University of Illinois with a BA from the College of Agriculture, a MA in Education. She then went on to obtain her PhD in Theology from North Carolina College of Theology. She was an educator for 36 years in the Urbana Public School system, teaching science for at Wiley School. She has also taught at incarcerated women at the Champaign County Correctional Center, as well as teaching at the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club and youth ministry groups. She has worked with a team to raise money for scholarships to college-bound youth. For nine years, she served on the Champaign County Mental Health Board, and has also served on the Optimist Club Board, Schools Foundation Team

She is the Founder and Director of “WISDOM WORKS,” was the past Vice President of the National Council of Negro Women, and the Board of Director at the Urbana Free Library. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her teaching, such as “Teacher of the Year” at both Parkland College and the Urbana School District.  

Presently, she is a member of the Board of Directors of the Orpheum Children's Science Museum, and Chairperson of the Education Committee of the Champaign County Chapter of the NAACP. All of the above as well as my local, district and state church work give me the opportunity to share that passion.