Grace Barker Wilson was born June 29, 1889 in Moran, Texas. She was the daughter of Squire Leander and Priscilla Jane McGuire Barker. When she was six months old, she moved with her family to Sapello Valley, twenty‐five miles north of Las Vegas, NV. Grace graduated from high school in Las Vegas and went on to college in Arizona. She received a bachelor's degree in music from Northwestern University and then another bachelor's in arts from Flagstaff Teachers' College. She later received an M.A. from the University of New Mexico.
Mrs. Wilson's teaching career in New Mexico began in 1925 when she moved to the Farmington area to teach at Kirtland High School. She became superintendent of the Central Consolidated Schools in 1930 and remained in that position for nineteen years. Her interests were always New Mexico and poetry. During her years as a public school educator, she often wrote poems dedicated to her students. After her retirement in 1949, she never severed her ties with former students and continued to write poetry. Five books of her poetry have been published.
She was the first living educator and the first woman to be named to the New Mexico Education Hall of Fame in 1956. In 1985, the Kirtland School District honored her by giving an elementary school her name; the first living New Mexican to be so honored during their lifetime.