Wanda Elaine Byther

April  9th, 1961 March  7th, 2024
Fort Worth, TX
Wanda Elaine Byther

You never slow down, you never grow old.
- Tom Petty


Wanda Elaine Byther, a remarkable woman of boundless compassion and unwavering dedication, departed this life on March 7, 2024, leaving behind a legacy of love and kindness that will forever resonate in the hearts of those who knew her.

Born and raised in Fort Worth, TX, Wanda Byther was deeply rooted in her community. She spent her formative years in the neighborhoods of River Oaks and Fort Worth, where she cultivated lifelong friendships and cherished memories. Graduating from Castleberry High School in 1979, she embarked on a journey of learning and self-discovery that would shape her extraordinary life.

Attending Tarrant County Junior College, now known as Tarrant County College, Wanda crossed paths with Craig Stuart Mitchell. Together, they had three wonderful children who were the light of her life.

While balancing the demands of motherhood, Wanda pursued her passion for graphic design and  embarked on a new venture, founding a typesetting company alongside her mother, enabling her to prioritize time with her cherished children.

Driven by her relentless commitment to empowering young minds, Wanda transitioned into the field of education, embarking on a profoundly impactful journey as an English teacher at Reach High School in Castleberry ISD. Her dedication and expertise soon led her to assume the role of principal, a position she held with unparalleled grace and integrity for 16 transformative years. As the guiding force behind Reach High School, she nurtured a generation of students, instilling in them the values of resilience, compassion, and lifelong learning.

Beyond her tenure as principal, Wanda continued her mission of service, serving in administrative roles, including the pivotal position of at-risk coordinator. Devoting 25 years of her life to the betterment of education, she tirelessly advocated for students in need, ensuring they had access to essential resources and support.

In the embrace of her passions, Wanda found solace and joy. An avid music enthusiast, she delighted in attending concerts and exploring the vibrant culture of her surroundings. Her adventurous spirit found sanctuary in the majestic mountains of Vegas, where she reveled in the beauty of nature.

A woman of profound faith and spirituality, Wanda found peace and strength in her connection to the divine. Her love for animals, vinyl records, and convertibles reflected her unique zest for life and appreciation for the simple joys that enriched her days.

Wanda Byther leaves behind a legacy of love and devotion that will endure through the generations. She is survived by her cherished mother, Margaret, her beloved children Brandon, Brittany, and Bridgette, her adored grandchildren Taylor, Tre, Aurora, Tara, Scarlett, Theo, Rosalie, and Dakota, her dear brothers Warren and Wade, and a whole lot of nieces and nephews. Her family was the heart of her world, and her memory will forever be a beacon of love and inspiration.

A woman of extraordinary grace and humility, Wanda was a shining example of strength and resilience, forever remembered as a big fish in a small pond. Her absence leaves a void that can never be filled, but her spirit will continue to guide and uplift those who were fortunate enough to have known her.

A celebration of Wanda's life will be planned in the near future. Please keep in contact with her children for updates. Though she may be gone from our sight, Wanda will forever remain in our hearts, a cherished guardian angel watching over us with love and grace.

Rest in power, dear Wanda. Your light will continue to shine brightly in the lives of all who were touched by your love and compassion. We love you forever and always!

Please share your memories of Wanda on the memory wall below.


April 9th
Born in Fort Worth, TX 
Graduated from Castleberry High School
River Oaks
Tarrant County Junior College
Associates Degree
Married Craig Stuart Mitchell
Fort Worth, TX
Birth of Son, Brandon
Fort Worth, TX
Started Encore Graphics
Birth of Daughter, Brittany
Fort Worth, TX
Birth of Daughter, Bridgette
Fort Worth, TX
When she stepped into her role as a single mother raising 3 kids
Started at The University of Texas at Arlington
Graduated from The University of Texas at Arlington
Bachelor of Arts - B, Psychology and Secondary English and Psychology Certification
Arlington, TX
Started teaching at REACH High School
Castleberry ISD
River Oaks, TX
Principal at REACH High School for 16 years
Castleberry ISD
River Oaks, TX
Graduated from The University of North Texas in Denton
Master of Education (M.Ed.), Educational Administration
Denton, TX
Married Bennett Byther
Fort Worth, TX
Principal at TRUCE Learning Center for 6 years
Concurrently while at REACH
River Oaks, TX
At-Risk Outreach Coordinator
Castleberry ISD
River Oaks, TX


Memory wall

Post your condolences or share your Memories.

July 8, 2024
How do you say goodbye to your hero? I'm not sure how things would have worked out without you but I can tell you I wouldn't be the person I am today if not for your kindness, passion, laughter, and love. Always love. You showed me a teacher = person, and later showed that person to be a friend. You gave so much to so many people, yet you never asked for a single thing back. The world is lesser today without you in it. The skies themselves weep at the loss of you.

Rest now and know the peace of the stars.

"We were born of stars and in death we will return to them. Let’s not strive to be black holes in the meantime. Let’s illuminate the world instead of darkening it, instead of tearing it to pieces. Let’s prove we are worthy of being stardust.” — Courtney M. Privett
Jes McFarlain
July 8, 2024
Please keep the family and loved ones of my precious friend Wanda (Mitchell) Byther in prayer. She gained angel wings and freedom from cancer this week. Wanda was my first friend ever. Our mothers were best friends since before I was born. Our families were very close as we were growing up and our mothers were besties until my mom passed in 2005. Wanda was incredibly smart, inspiring, a passionate educator and principal, kind, loving, and so much fun. Her love for Christ, her family, students, friends, animals, and music was incredible. We made mud pies as little girls, listened endlessly to Elvis records and so many others through the years. We rode around in her cute VW bug as teens. My first concert was with her in 1980, we went to the Texxas Jam at the Cotton Bowl in the blistering hottest summer ever and had the best time! We were there for each other as we said our “I do’s” to our beloved husbands. I moved away after David and I married. We tried hard to keep in touch through our mothers and the many address changes. When we moved back to Fort Worth several years ago, I surprised the Principal Extraordinaire at work once on her birthday. I was always so very proud of her and all that she had accomplished serving others. She always made everyone feel so valued and important. I just saw her January 2nd and we remembered together and she shared with so much pride about her 3 precious children and 8 darling grandchildren. She was so positive even though she was in pain. We prayed together that night and were both so hopeful for improvement. She lives on through each of her children and grandchildren, as well as her loving mom, 2 dear big brothers, and all who loved her. I will miss her terribly and at the same time thankful her suffering with cancer is over. Until we meet again in Heaven my precious friend. I will love you always. 🤍
Leah Pannell Travis
April 24, 2024
I miss her
April 7, 2024
Throughout life we traveling a path that leads us on a journey into places unexpectedly. On my path I was very blessed and fortunate to meet Wanda. Her beautiful smile and spirit was one of a kind that reached allot of her friends and family when they needed it most. She always had a minute no matter how busy she was to stop to say hi and ask about your family. Her impact with the lives of the students she touched will forever be engraved about how you should never give up and always be willing to start again when you think you can’t. Wanda and her family I want you to know what a blessing she was to many people by her attitude and sacrifices to show people there is good still in this world with a spirit like Wanda Byther.
Stephanie Griffin-Vining
April 7, 2024
The last several years I had the pleasure of working along side Wanda. During this time I got to know her as a strong woman of faith. She knew with certainty that God was with her and had a plan for her life. He used her to inspire and encourage those around her. She was one of the strongest prayer warriors I have ever come across. We are all better for knowing her. She will be missed but is now in the presence of her savior with no more pain or suffering!
June Ritchlin
April 5, 2024
Mrs.Byther always believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself! I stayed in her office more than her average student but still she didn’t give up on me. She came and knocked on my door so I would go to school even when I wanted to quit. She made sure I was given an equal opportunity and wanted me to be successful even when I didn’t want to be. I can’t thank her enough. She will always be remembered and thanked for never giving up on me! She left a mark on my heart and I know she’s resting in heaven!
Brenda Mata
April 4, 2024
I'm in shock! Wanda was the most beautiful soul I have ever met, she thought about everyone else before herself she's never met been a stranger. She loved Life and adventures nothing stopped her. I loved her so very much, she will always be part of my soul.
Patrick Murphy
April 1, 2024
It is with personal, professional, and campus-wide saddened hearts that I learned of the passing of our long-time principal of REACH High School, Ms. Wanda Byther. She leaves us with many memories and emotions ranging far and wide. For the deep admiration I have for my late colleague and friend, I would like to take the liberty to share the following.

Ms. Byther brought a genuine enthusiasm to all that she did in word and deed. I had the privilege to work closely and not only witness that enthusiasm firsthand but also come to understand to whom her priorities and purpose were directed. Her daily, all-in-all, rang as clear as a bell. Wanda's daily charge was to try her best to glorify her very personal Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in everything she did for her family, her friends, her colleagues, her acquaintances, and even her pets. What a wonderful testimony of the love of God shown through His child.

On a personal level, it was Ms. Byther who made it possible for my wife and I to realize our aspiration to make a life-changing move from NYC to north Texas for our children. It was she who fully understood and respected my skillset, heart, and experiences leading her to take me on as her wingman in service to the students and families at the Alternative Learning Center. My gratitude for her belief in me will never dwindle.

With that same level of gratitude, I close by expressing my deep gratitude to the Lord and His will to soften Ms. Byther's heart so that He would bring glimpses of Himself to us through her before calling her home. My hope is that her heart will continue to dwell deep within the fabric of REACH and our District. She will certainly be missed but despite the sadness I feel by her loss, my consolation is that Wanda is now more alive than she ever was while amongst us.
Pascal Licciardi
March 29, 2024
When I first met Wanda, it was my first time being a 1st assistant director on a commercial for Arcpoint Studios. She was helping out Bridgette by letting us use her old school as a location. I’ve heard so many funny, quirky stories about Wanda from Bridgette and the stories, honestly, do her no justice. She was really funny! Since she was retiring from being the principal of that school, she had a free-for-all attitude which we loved haha. She would always offer us snacks in between takes and would try to help out as much as she can since Bridgette was pregnant at the time. You could tell she was a caring, warm, and gentle person. What impacted me the most was that day was so difficult for me that I ended up crying by the end of it (good tears). I needed a release and she offered comfort and safety in her biggest hug. It was very reassuring and she kept telling me that I did a good job. Even though it was short, I’ve always remembered that of Wanda.
Rahalia Senior
March 25, 2024
I have such fond memories of going to concerts with Wanda back in the day. My very first concert was with her in ‘77. We saw Aerosmith. From that day forward I was hooked on concerts. The very first time I saw Rod was with her and we got in free from a connection she had. We went on to go to many concerts together at the Tarrant County Convention Center and Dallas Reunion Arena. She would always want to try and find out which hotel the musicians were staying in. We never had any luck, but we still had great stories and laughs from trying. She was also my ride to school everyday and my running buddy on the weekends. She drove a convertible VW bug and oh the fun we had in that car. She had bought a paddle with different sayings and we would drive down the road holding up different ones with the top down. I can still hear her laugh. We had some great times in our youth. I recently saw her back in September at church. She looked good and seemed very happy. RIP my sweet friend.❣️
Sharon Reed
March 24, 2024
Ms. Byther was my Principal back at Reach, she was such an amazing woman, she helped me graduate when I thought everyone gave up on me. Even myself, but she pushed me forward. I will be eternal grateful for her. She always made sure I was okay, and was understanding with my health issues. She was funny, and cared for her students. May she rest in peace.v
Ezekiel Ortiz
March 22, 2024
Wanda was one of the first principals I met when I started working in Castleberry ISD. She was warm, welcoming, and encouraging. I will always treasure the time we had working together, and how she always asked me about my daughter and son and how they were doing. Wanda is well loved in Castleberry by so many wonderful people, and I am grateful to have known her.
Myrna Blanchard
March 21, 2024
I was Wanda's Vocational Office Education teacher at Castleberry
High School her sophomore & junior years (1976-1978). She was in my lab for two periods per day for two years, so I knew her well. Wanda was the person in class (along with Colleen O'Neill) that was always the one to ask me, Mrs. Top, if we could have a free period. I would sometimes give in and tell them if they finished their assignments, they could have the last 10 minutes to talk. Wanda watched the clock religiously and would remind me when it was "their time." She was a good business student and a joy to teach. She and Colleen left a CTO party one night and "wrapped" my house. We had two very small trees that we had planted, and my husband heard them outside and unwrapped the trees before they could drive back by to see their handiwork. At school the following Monday, I found out it was the two of them. We laughed about it. She always told me that she loved me because I didn't tell on them and get them in trouble!!

We kept in touch over the years even though I didn't see her again until 2019. I saw her Facebook message about raising money for a game room at her school, REACH. I contacted her and brought her a check one day. I toured the school and spoke with the students (who were on break in the common area). They all wanted to know what Mrs. Byther was like as a student. Her co-workers were very complimentary of her, and I was so proud of all that she has done since high school. I went to the grand opening of the game room and played games with her students. They were so appreciative of all that she had done for them, and they all had a story to tell about how they had ended up at REACH High School. I went back and hosted a graduation breakfast, and her graduating students were so proud of themselves and how she had made sure they would graduate. It made me so proud.

Wanda, from the time I met her, would tell me that "You let me be me," and that was her saying all the years of our friendship. She said that she tried to treat her students the same way. I feel like this is the kindest thing a student ever said to me, and I will remember it forever. I am heartbroken with her loss. Rest in peace, Wan.
Laurie Topham
March 16, 2024
I had the privilege of working with Wanda during her entire career at Castleberry. The one thing about Wanda that stands out from the rest is that she always saw the good in everyone and everything, even in situations where others might struggle to find optimism. I’ve yet to meet someone with as much passion and dedication to assisting students and providing the extra encouragement needed to help them succeed. She has left a mark on Castleberry, as well as the many students she served as their English teacher or principal, and those she worked beside as a colleague. I am so blessed to have had the privilege of working with her over the years. Wanda, your words of kindness and infectious smile will be missed by everyone you touched.
Renee Smith-Faulkner
March 9, 2024
I'm not sure why there was no mention of it in Wanda's obituary, but she was also survived by 2 older brothers, Warren and Wade, who loved her dearly. Wanda was the best sister anyone could have ever asked for!
Warren Brooks
March 9, 2024
She was the one who got me on track when I was in reach before she became the principal she was my English teacher and it was with her support and push that I pushed in class and actually focused she had my back every step of the way and I could never that her enough even through the years I still hear her voice saying to push that I got this.. (She would be having a fit over the lack of correct punctuation) you will be missed and loved more then you will ever realize
Johnny harris
March 8, 2024
I worked for a short while at REACH, alongside Wanda. I've worked with some wonderful prople, but no one quite like her, and I mean that in the best of ways. What I most appreciated about Wanda is that she always saw the best in others. And, I mean everyone! Her students saw her as an encourager, her staff saw her as a team member who worked to bring out the best in all around her. I saw her as a kind, generous, and Christ-filled friend. She made her life a mission to help build brighter futures by helping others find their way. The world is a little darker without her. But, we are all the better for having had her as part of our life. My prayers are with you all.
Amy Kuhns
March 8, 2024
Wanda aka Mrs Mitchell as I knew her as originally was my English teacher at Reach back in 2001-2002 and she was a amazing teacher. I remember talking to her in the mornings mainly before class because she was so easy to talk to about anything. She was really the only one who took the time to talk to me because I was quite and i didn't really have any friends there. I remember that she gave me a little keychain Bible once and I wish that I had kept up with it but sadly I didn't. I will however cherish the memories I have from Reach of her and of our talks about God and of music. She will greatly missed by so many . RIP Mrs Mitchell 😞 Thank you for all that you did.
Mary Rogers
March 8, 2024
My deepest condolences to the Mitchell family. Wanda was always so cool.
Daniel Trent Fergason
March 8, 2024
I remember the day Wanda accepted last minute into Reach HS to obtain my last few credits. She approached me with understanding and care. Never judging just glad I was there. She help me Graduate with diploma in hand, her generosity and open heart I will never forget. She helped plant confidence in me,that is still blooming. Life lessons she taught me, just by being herself. She touch many lives along her journey, I'm proud & lucky to be one of those stories. She will be missed dearly and her memory I will cherish with a special place in my heart ever forgetting the woman that helped give me start.
Angela R Snyder
March 8, 2024
Mom was always down for an adventure. I always had a good time riding around with her with the top down in her red convertible.
Brittany Elaine Wells


What was Wanda's favorite type of Music / Song?
Wanda LOVED music and liked so many genres (just not country). Below is a playlist of some of her favorite songs. Do you have any music related memories of Wanda? Please share on the memory wall!
What was Wanda's favorite Travel destination?
Las Vegas. She especially loved visiting the mountains!
What was Wanda's favorite Music / Song?
Just Like Heaven - The Cure
Wild Horses - The Rolling Stones
You've Got a Friend - James Taylor
Little Wing - Jimi Hendrix
The End of The Innocence - Don Henley
Texas Flood - Stevie Ray Vaughan
Satisfied - Ian Moore
Leather and Lace - Stevie Nicks
Blue Sky - Ian Moore
I Won't Back Down - Tom Petty
All of Elvis Presley
What was Wanda's favorite Local spot?
Keys Lounge
What was Wanda's favorite Restaurant?
Mexican Inn
What was Wanda's favorite Drink?
Sugar Free Watermelon Slushie from QT
Fun fact about Wanda:
She met B.B. King by accidentally stumbling into him while he was about to go live on air to sign a guitar for Make a Wish Foundation. He made her hold the guitar while he signed it so she could stay and hang out with him.
What was Wanda's favorite Food or Dish?
Bean and Cheese Dip
Fun fact about Wanda:
She was an avid Vinyl Collector and wanted to open a record shop and collectables when she retired.
Fun fact about Wanda:
Her bucket list was always to meet all of her grandchildren. Her youngest grandchild was born in September, a few months before she was diagnosed. 

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