Vella T. Ellis-Wilson. Photo provided

By Sherran Harris,


Vella T. Ellis-Wilson departed this life peacefully on Friday, September 15, 2023, at the age of 88 years. Vella was born August 6, 1935, to Laura and Sanford Vaughn in Prichard, Alabama. She had one sister Della R.Smith (preceded in death January 2017).

In 1954, Mrs. Ellis-Wilson married Edward Ellis (preceded in death June 1985) in Saginaw, Michigan, and moved to Cincinnati in 1956. She and Edward had three children, Derric (preceded in death June 2022), Sherran and LaTice. She married Corenlius Wilson in 1991 (preceded in death November 2012).

Mrs. Ellis-Wilson attended Alabama State College in Mobile, Alabama. She also attended the University of Cincinnati and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Education in 1960. While attending the University of Cincinnati, she worked at the Post Office and became one of the first 15 women hired to work full time. She  received her Master’s degree in Educational Administration from Xavier University in 1964. She continued to do 30 hours of post graduate work at University of Cincinnati, Dayton University and Miami University. She received additional training in The Seven Basic Habits of Effective Leaders in 1991; Ohio Leadership Development in Educational Administration 1990; Superintendent’s Academy 1989 and PG’s Corporate Training and Development in 1988.

Mrs. Ellis-Wilson was a teacher with the Cincinnati Public Schools for 7 years, then became Assistant Principal at Rockdale Elementary. Principal at Windsor Elementary, Bond Hill Elementary and Crest Hills Middle School. In 1982, she was appointed to Area director of Elementary Schools and in 1987 she was promoted to Area Assistant Superintendent of Cincinnati Public Schools. She retired from Cincinnati Public Schools in 1994 and worked for 1 year at the University of Cincinnati, College of Education as a Program Coordinator.

Mrs. Ellis-Wilson received two outstanding Principal Awards, three YMCA Outstanding Service Awards and a United Way Award. She also wrote and published a book titled “Defying the Odds.”

Her affiliations include past President of the Cincinnati Association of Elementary School Principals, Representative of National Association of Elementary School Principals, National Alliance of Black School Educators, Board Member of the YMCA, Walnut Hills Area Council, Bond Hill-Paddock Hills Assembly, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Top Ladies of Distinction, Advocates for Youth Education, The Alabama Connection, The Magnificent and HI liters Couple Clubs, and an active member of Lincoln Heights Missionary Baptist Church.

Her passions included golf, bowling, line dancing, extensive traveling, and family gatherings.

Her memories will be cherished by her daughters, Sherran Harris and LaTice Lewis, seven grandchildren, Andre Harris (LaToya Balleau), LaToya Lewis, Keisha Dobbins (Walter Jr.) Ronita Lewis, Amanda Ellis (Michael), Rachel Ellis, DeShawn Harris.; niece Annette VanDevere (Craig), nephews Eric Smith (Sherry), William Smith (Jessica); sister-in-law Carlee Russell, brother-in-law Arthur-Lee Ellis; 12 great grandchildren, five great-great grandchildren; and a other cousins, nieces, nephews and friends.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *