Kathleen Rodgers: Highly recognized educator

By Dorothy Inman-Johnson
Special to the Outlook

Kathleen Rodgers

Kathleen L. Rodgers is an outstanding educator and a native of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, recently hard hit by both hurricanes Irma and Maria that devastated Puerto Rico and left massive damage in the Virgin Islands. Her family survived the storm and is doing well, considering the circumstances. Kathleen has been a resident of Tallahassee for over 34 years, a city she and her adult daughter now call home. Both are graduates of Florida A and M University. Kathleen earned her B.S. degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education, her M.S. degree in Administration and Supervision, and a PhD in Educational Leadership. Her daughter, Kerstin, earned both her Bachelor and MBA from the FAMU School of Business and Industry.

Kathleen has excelled in her chosen profession at every level in the Leon County School System. She was a classroom teacher for 13 years, ranging from elementary grades to Dropout Prevention and trainer/ mentor for beginning teachers. Kathleen received numerous recognitions for her dedication as a teacher that included Leon County Teacher of the Year, Ida S. Baker Minority Educator of the Year, and the Glenn-Howell Minority Educator of the Year. She was an assistant principal for seven years before serving as principal for six years.  While serving in that capacity, she also served as Lead Principal for middle school principals and President of the Leon County Principals and Assistant Principals Association. During her tenure as principal of Kate Sullivan Elementary, she had the honor of leading a two-time National Blue Ribbon School and was instrumental in bringing Bellevue Middle School from a “D” grade to within a few points of a “B”. She created several innovative programs at Bellevue focused on improving opportunities for success for low achieving students or those with repeated disciplinary issues. Dr. Rodgers is the founder of the SHARPE Project (Shaping and Helping Adolescents to be Responsible, Positive, and Excellent) designed to reduce the rate of students recommended for expulsion by teaming them with mentors. In 2017, the program was expanded to Frank R. Nims Middle School, John G. Riley and Oak Ridge Elementary Schools.

She was asked to join the Superintendent’s Leadership Team at the District Office in 2009. As a district administrator, she is currently Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Prevention, Intervention, and Equity Services; making her responsible for oversight on a wide range of school district programs that include federal Title IX compliance, Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Children and Families services, Homelessness, and students in the Foster Care system.

She currently serves on the Board of the African Caribbean Dance Theater and supports the Grace Mission programs for homeless families and children. She coordinated the first blankets, t-shirts, and socks drive for the Mission in 2016. She is a passionate educational leader and advocate for children. And she has set a wonderful example for her own daughter who is paving her path to a life of service and excellence. For Dr. Kathleen Rodgers’ many contributions, the Capital Outlook Newspaper is proud to recognize her as this week’s Person of the Week.

Please send recommendations for Person of the Week to dotinman-johnson@hotmail.com.