BROWARD COMMISSIONER’S REPORT | Dr. Kathleen C. Wright: The Legacy Black Educators Leave Behind By Dr. Barbara Sharief | Legacy South Florida Education Issue

Educators are certainly one of the most important members of our society. 

Like the students before us, the teaching community is not a homogeneous group, and we wouldn’t want them to be – diverse backgrounds bring unique perspectives and opportunities for students. 

Black educators allow students of color to really embrace who they are, their individuality, their uniqueness, and their identity. A young mind is often shaped by the person standing in front of the classroom. For every Black educator who enters a school building, Black students are able to see a mirror reflecting their own experiences and perspectives, and a window into their future. 

Educators are some of the most influential role models for our students and local communities. Dr. Kathleen C. Wright was an extraordinary citizen of Broward County, Florida and a public servant who left a lasting legacy of leadership and service to the community she loved. 

She attended Dillard High School in Fort Lauderdale and was valedictorian of the 1953 graduating class. After earning her Bachelor of Science in Education in 1958, Dr. Wright returned to Dillard High School, where she taught for 16 years. While teaching, she earned a master’s degree and a doctorate in education from Florida Atlantic University. 

Dr. Wright was an influential role model for developing students and enriching them academically. Not only was she an educator for 16 years, but she went on to serve as the first Black Broward County School Board member. 

Subsequently, she served as vice chairwoman of the School Board. Her time as a school board member was dedicated to providing a quality education to all Broward County students.

On top of being an educator and school board member, Dr. Wright served in leadership positions in more than 30 different organizations including: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Fort Lauderdale Chapter of The Links, the Urban League of Broward County, the League of Women Voters, the Broward County Democratic Party, the NAACP, and St. Christopher Episcopal Church, where she taught Bible classes.

Dr. Wright tragically passed away at the young age of 49, but her impact and legacy still lives on today. She brought new representation to Broward County’s African-American communities, improved education, inspired activism and set a high standard for courage, vision, and leadership. 

Her legacy lives on through the Kathleen C. Wright (KCW) Administration Building, named in remembrance of her public service to the community, and the Kathleen C. Wright Foundation, Inc., which offers guidance and career advice to help middle school students, high school students and adults attain their educational and career goals. 

Dr. Barbara Sharief M.S.N., A.P.R.N., D.N.P., is a commissioner on the Broward County Commission representing District 8.

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