Outstanding Leadership

Honorary Doctorate for Jessie O. Kirksey

In 40-plus years as an educator in Kansas City schools, amid swirls of social, legal and bureaucratic change, Jessie O. Kirksey has been a constant.

For decades, her students, their parents and their community have shown their appreciation for their beloved “Dr. K.” On Saturday, May 17, the University of Missouri-Kansas City will do the same, presenting Kirksey with an honorary doctorate at the university’s School of Education commencement ceremony. The ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. in Swinney Recreation Center on the UMKC campus.

Kirksey has served as principal of John T. Hartman Elementary School in the Kansas City, Missouri School District since 1998. She previously served the district as a teacher, reading specialist, vice principal and director of elementary education.

At Hartman, she has worked tirelessly for a supportive and enthusiastic school family and extended community. Along the way, she has been recognized with numerous awards, including “100 Most Influential African Americans” by the Kansas City Globe, Distinguished Principal of the Year by Kansas City Public Schools, and Outstanding Educator by Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

According to the Hartman School website, Kirksey is “a child-centered principal, a teacher’s teacher, a parent’s friend, and a community leader. Because she has an open door policy and is always there for each of us, she instills, in all members of her Professional Learning Community, a unity of purpose and an internal motivation to stretch our capabilities in reaching our goals.”

“She is a life-long learner, who continually strives for excellence,” the site continues. “Dr. Kirksey has been honored for the way she carefully orchestrates her philosophies of education, life and humor into a beautiful symphony of a totally supportive and enthusiastic school family and extended community.”

| John Martellaro, Division of Strategic Marketing and Communications

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