Colleagues called William J. Kerewsky one of the top middle-school educators in the country.
They described him as a creative force -- in his years as a Howard County principal and administrator, and in his latest endeavor, developing innovative programs at the Children's -Z Guild, a private school for emotionally disturbed children in Northeast Baltimore.
Mr. Kerewsky -- who conceived of a garden of pizza ingredients to be installed at the school in the fall and a cafeteria with varied ethnic themes -- died June 17 at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Virginia. The Columbia resident was 59.
The cause of death is undetermined, said his wife of 37 years, the former Lucy Bauman.
Before becoming director of staff and program development at the Children's Guild two years ago, Mr. Kerewsky had been a consultant on middle-school education since 1990.
"He worked for four or five national foundations," said Andrew L. Ross, president of the Children's Guild. "He was helping schools become more effective."
Mr. Kerewsky longed for closer ties with other educators, his wife said.
"As an independent consultant, he was really missing having collegial connections," Mrs. Kerewsky said. "He really believed in teamwork."
Mr. Ross said Mr. Kerewsky brought an energetic vision to the Children's Guild.
"He was a fantastic staff development expert. He had a way of helping teachers understand the spirit of education," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, he's one of those guys that you run into only once in a while in your career."
Mr. Kerewsky also founded and edited T.E.A.M., The Early Adolescence Magazine from 1988 until 1993.
He was director of middle schools for Howard County from 1983 until 1990, and principal of Harper's Choice Middle School from 1976 to 1983.
"Bill was very visionary about middle grades in education," said Howard County School Superintendent Michael E. Hickey. "He was a passionate man. He did a great job of communicating that passion to others."
A native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., Mr. Kerewsky earned a bachelor's degree from Antioch College in Ohio in 1961 and a master's degree in human growth and development from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1967.
Mr. Kerewsky moved to the Washington area in 1965 after teaching sixth grade in Ossining, N.Y., to work as a pupil personnel worker for the Prince George's County school system. He was principal of Beltsville Elementary School from 1968 to 1976.
In addition to his educational pursuits, Mr. Kerewsky was an advocate of adopting greyhounds, and owned three of the dogs -- Zeno, Lila and Eva.
Besides his wife, immediate survivors include two daughters, Rebecca Kerewsky of Columbus, Ohio, and Shoshana Kerewsky Eugene, Ore.