Anita Mauk Lees, 76, psychologist, educator

July 17, 2002|By Stephanie Desmon | Stephanie Desmon,SUN STAFF

Anita Mauk Lees, a longtime psychologist and special education administrator for Baltimore City schools, died of lung cancer Saturday at Gilchrest Center for Hospice Care. She was 76.

Born in Aliquippa, Pa., she attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1946 and a master's degree the next year. Mrs. Lees later completed coursework for a doctorate in psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Mrs. Lees moved to Baltimore in 1953 and joined the city school system as a psychologist in 1960. She became coordinator of psychological services and was later named coordinator of the Office of Compliance in the school system's Division of Special Education. Her colleagues remembered her as intelligent and well-respected, and a pioneer in developing criteria to prevent misidentification of minority children as developmentally disabled.

When the state threatened to take over the city's special education department in the early 1980s, Mrs. Lees served as the state Department of Education's liaison with the city's legal defense team to help bring the city into compliance.

"I remember her as a very professional person, dedicated to seeing that children received the best possible educational programs," said Waetina A. Coles, a retired assistant superintendent for special education in the city. Mrs. Lees was also an excellent trainer of teachers, helping them to interpret psychological data for students, Mrs. Coles said.

After Mrs. Lees retired in 1986, she worked as a consultant for parents, advocates and agencies on behalf of disabled children. She also served as a consultant for the Abell Foundation.

Mrs. Lees lived in North Baltimore and was a supporter of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, the Baltimore Museum of Art and the Walters Art Museum. She also served as a board member of the Baltimore Cancer Support Group.

"She loved the city and loved living there," recalled her son, Chester M. Mauk of Waynesboro, Pa. "Even when her friends moved to the counties, she wanted to stay close to the things she wanted to do."

Mrs. Lees married Lyman W. Mauk in 1947. He was a copy desk supervisor for the Baltimore Evening Sun when he died in 1964. Mrs. Lees married Harry Lees, a retired vice president of American Expess, in 1977. He died in 1982.

A service for Mrs. Lees will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church, 1710 Dulaney Valley Road.

In addition to her son, Mrs. Lees is survived by a sister, Isabel Holstein, and a brother Louis Colonna, both of Aliquippa; a daughter, Nicola M. Mauk of Baltimore; and a granddaughter, Hallie Louis Mauk of Waynesboro.

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