Dagny R. Pettit, 76, a member of the D.C. Board of Education from 1955 to 1960 and a champion of extra pay for teachers who coached athletic teams in the school system, died of a cerebral hemorrhage Sept. 8 at Montgomery General Hospital.
Mrs. Pettit, who lived at Rossmoor Leisure World in Silver Spring, was born in Vancouver, Wash. She grew up in Astoria, Ore., and graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in home economics.
She moved to the Washington area in 1930. She was president of the Congress Heights School and Kramer Junior High Parent-Teacher Associations. She also was a part-time clerk at Kramer for eight years.
These activities led to her being appointed to the board of education by the judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, whose responsibility this was before school board members became elected officials. She lived on the grounds of St. Elizabeths Hospital, where her husband was a psychiatrist, and represented Anacostia.
Mrs. Pettit was an advocate of special classes for bright children and those with learning difficulties. She also favored the establishment of psychiatric testing services. But it was as chairman of the board's student activities and athletics committee that she was best known.
When she began her term, coaches received just their teaching salaries. There was no compensation for the extra time they put in on the playing fields. The long-standing grievances of the coaches on this matter came to a head in 1957. The following year, the school board acted on a suggestion by Mrs. Pettit that the coaches be paid for their field work even though this was opposed by Hobart M. Corning, then the school superintendent.
In 1960, Mrs. Pettit moved to St. Joseph, Mo., where her husband, Dr. Manson B. Pettit, had been appointed head of a state hospital. The couple returned here in 1979.
In addition to her husband of Rossmoor Leisure World, survivors include two children, Marjorie P. James of Merriam, Kan., and John W. Pettit of Potomac, and four grandchildren.