Remembering Clementine

Clementine SkinnerIt seems fitting during Black History Month to honor and remember Dr. Clementine A. Skinner (1916–2006), KDP’s first African-American president. She served from 1976-1978.

Clementine was born in Birmingham, Ala., the daughter of John and Alice McConico. Her family relocated to Chicago during the Great Northern Migration, partly due to controversy caused by her father’s involvement in the civil rights movement.  In Chicago, her father owned McConico’s Book and Magazine store, which housed and sold publications by and about African Americans.

Beyond being an academic and trailblazing Kadelpian, she was instrumental in preserving and sharing African-American history, a passion which was influenced largely by her experience at her father’s bookstore. Skinner was a close friend and contemporary of the founder of the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History (ASALH), Dr. Carter G. Woodson, who is credited with creating the celebration that evolved into Black History Month in 1926.

As I was researching her life, I came across a CNN article from Feb. 14, 1996, 18 years ago today. The article quoted a then 80-year-old Skinner as a representative from the ASALH. In that article, Skinner said, “We never sat around and spent all our time worrying about being segregated…We worked for integration constantly in all areas of society.”

Her life’s legacy illustrates that quote perfectly. After she graduated high school, Clementine went to work at Woolworth’s, where she worked her way from salesclerk to floor manager and eventually buyer, the first African American to be promoted to this position. She began using her position to create change and was instrumental in getting items like cosmetics and hosieries for women of color. Her letters to the corporate offices also impacted the company’s employment practices as they related to minorities.

After becoming a mother and serving in the First Women’s Army Corps, she began her college career in 1953 at the age of 41. She received an associate’s degree in 1959. She then enrolled in Chicago Teachers College—now known as Chicago State University—and received a bachelor’s degree in education in 1960 (she was initiated into Theta Rho Chapter that year) and a master’s degree in1963.

In 1976, the same year she became KDP president, Clementine earned an Ed.D from Nova University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She was 60 years old.

We are so proud to have had Dr. Clementine Skinner as a member, past president, and distinguished educator, and we celebrate and honor her during Black History Month.

Meet David McNelly!

Check out this month’s Member Spotlight, David McNelly! David has been a member of KDP since 2009 and is a Classroom Teacher Grant reviewer. He is a Special Needs and ESL Coordinator in the United Arab Emirates. Connect with him in KDP Global.

David McNellyWhat do you value most about your KDP membership?
Over the past two years, my understanding of membership has expanded and KDP has become a valued asset. Lately, KDP been a way for way to be of service and volunteer even while teaching overseas.

What is your most used KDP member benefit?
Articles and updates especially in the area of Special Education. I work as a coordinator in a different country at an international school with a modified American curriculum. KDP resources have become more useful as the need to stay updated has increased.

Why do you use KDP Global?
I work overseas in the United Arab Emirates and love to work and live in different countries. I have taught in three countries and hope to add China or Singapore to the list next year.

What do you love about being an educator?
A first grade boy at my school struggles with letters and numbers both due to language challenges (left to right and right to left with a different alphabet) and learning concerns. In the mornings, before school, he gets 20 minutes of free time to use the whiteboard and try to write his name. He still makes a “Z” look like a number two and transposes “I” and “U,” but he is very enthusiastic. Every day he keeps trying, and I think that is what I like most about being an educator—never giving up.

KDP Celebrates You During National Volunteer Week

Rachel Gurley is chapter operations coordinator at Kappa Delta Pi.


Getting a personal thank-you card is always a gesture everyone appreciates. As a Kappa Delta Pi volunteer, you are the core of what we do. Whether you are a counselor, officer, committee member, or dedicated member of KDP, we appreciate the selfless sacrifice of your time. Without committed volunteers, Kappa Delta Pi would not be thriving today among educators dedicated to teaching. We not only recognize excellence in education, we recognize your volunteer role as invaluable. Thank you for all that you do!

Meet Shannon Rice!

Check out this month’s Member Spotlight, Shannon Rice! Shannon has been a member of KDP since 2002 and is a scholarship reviewer and chairman of the membership committee. Connect with her in KDP Global.

Shannon RiceWhat do you value most about your KDP membership?
I value Kappa Delta Pi because it allows me to connect with other professionals, amazing resources, and fantastic opportunities to grow as an educator.

What is your most used KDP member benefit?
The webinars, both live and archived. These experiences never fail to leave me with ideas that I can’t wait to try in my classroom.

What do you love about being an educator?
I love being in education because teaching provides such fulfillment, and I don’t know any other profession that would allow me to share my passion, continue to grow as a learner, and make a difference in the lives of individual students every day.

Congratulations to 8 New Teacher Leaders for People to People

Sarah Zike is the Director of Membership and Chapter Services for Kappa Delta Pi and the Liaison to People to People.
In the summer of 2015, students from 140 countries will have the opportunity to connect with and learn from other high achieving students from all over the world through People to People Leadership Summits and World Leadership Forums. The students—called Leadership Ambassadors—are chosen from teacher recommendations and applications that reveal a high level of scholastic achievement, demonstrated leadership attributes, and exemplary citizenship.


People to People Students at the UN

People to People Students at the UN

These students will also learn from eight accomplished members of KDP who were awarded scholarships on March 9th to travel to epicenters of intellectual and cultural activity in Washington D.C., New York, Philadelphia, and at top institutions such as Harvard, George Washington University, and U.C.L.A. to facilitate these leadership programs. The program facilitators—called Teacher Leaders—will be in a unique position to teach culturally diverse groups of students in grades 6−12. The scholarship recipients are:
Tara Cosco, Doctoral Candidate and Faculty Counselor at Glenville State College, West Virginia, Kappa Omicron Chapter
Clark Davis, Graduate student at Niagara University, New York, Alpha Alpha Beta Chapter
Ryan Estrada, High school mathematics teacher in Houston, Texas
Andrea Hauser, Undergraduate student at University of Wisconsin Whitewater
Edmye Hernandez, 7th and 12th grade English Language Arts instructor in New York
Alison Moore, Undergraduate student at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Tau Iota Chapter
Andrea Nicolia, Graduate student at Niagara University, New York, Alpha Alpha Beta Chapter
Ciara O’Meara, Graduate student at University of Georgia, Beta Kappa Chapter

Leadership Ambassadors will be encouraged through the programs to continue to do great work in their schools and begin to do so in their communities and around the world. They will refine their leadership traits and build new levels of confidence through the experience. Additionally, the programs will move the participants closer to an understanding of what they want to do with their lives, and it will arm them with practical approaches to accomplishing these goals.

Working with such high caliber students from such diverse backgrounds will be a perfect fit for members of KDP, who join the society for all the same reasons students participate in People to People Leadership Programs. KDP members, like the Leadership Ambassadors, are recommended or invited to join or vetted through application on the basis of their leadership attributes, their scholastic achievement, and a commitment to global citizenship. The parallel traits of the KDP (now People to People) Teacher Leaders and the Leadership Ambassadors will provide a compelling learning opportunity for all involved!

Congratulations People to People Teacher Leaders, Tara, Clark, Ryan, Andrea, Edmye, Alison, Andrea, and Ciara! We look forward to hearing your stories and learning about your experiences!

ALL OTHER KDP MEMBERS: Be watching for new opportunities from People to People! Our partnership has just begun!

Kappa Delta Pi’s Work is Not Done

Laura Stelsel is director of marketing & communications at Kappa Delta Pi.

Dr. Frank Marsh

Dr. Frank Marsh

Last week, I called up one of KDP’s longest-standing members, Dr. Frank Marsh, to talk about his work with the Society. Dr. Marsh is a Lifetime member; he initiated in 1949 at the University of New Hampshire.

He’s served as president of the Society, organized two Convocations, edited The KDP Record, and helped found the Kappa Delta Pi Foundation, which is now our department of advancement.

I spoke to Dr. Marsh for an hour, but among the most important messages I received from him was his feeling of responsibility in giving back to KDP. In fact, he said that no matter how much he’s given to KDP, he’s received that much back and more. His desire to pay it forward to future educators is commendable. Check out this short clip from our conversation on why he financially supports the Society.

During the month of March, we celebrate Founders Day (March 8, 1911) and our founders all month long with $19.11 contributions to the Founders Fund.

At headquarters, I’m proud to say that nearly every staff member contributes annually. Why? Because, like Dr. Marsh, we see and hear directly how important these funds are to the members who receive them—members with the new ideas to which he referred.

Won’t you join us? No donation is too small. Support KDP’s mission with a donation to the Founders Fund today!

Thank you, volunteers!

Did you know that April 6-12 is National Volunteer Week? So many volunteers contribute to the work of the Society. Whether it be Executive Council, committee members, Laureates, counselors, journal writers or reviewers, webinar presenters, or scholarship and grant reviewers…we certainly could not do what we do to empower educators without your generous time and talent.

Volunteer WeekWe thought we’d ask one of our super volunteers, Jeff Arnold, why he gives back. Jeff Arnold is an initiate of Rho Zeta Chapter at University of Alaska Anchorage and a lifetime member of Kappa Delta Pi, joining in 1990. Check out his responses.

Why do you volunteer?
“I volunteer because for me, ‘it’s the right thing to do.’  It’s a part of me. Even when I was overseas, I found a way to volunteer.  It’s a productive way to spend time, again something to help others, make our community and even the world a better place and heck, I often learn something along the way.”

What do you get out of volunteering?
”Wow – this is quite a range!  Be it seeing a newborn baby, or someone hours away from passing, or organizing tables for a conference, each action brings a different fulfillment.  Sometimes it’s emotionally trying, but I grow from those experiences.  Sometimes it’s joyful which is pretty neat to share.  Sometimes it’s like a cool breeze on a warm day, just giving refreshment and peace.” Jeff on the Move

Why would you want to see others volunteer?
“There are so many opportunities to volunteer.  A friend with an airlines disaster assistance office once told me ‘some are better at making sandwiches and some are better at serving them,’ (thank you Nancy Pitts)!  With that phrase, everyone should be able to find their niche in some volunteer opportunity.  It gets back to realizing we’re all part of something bigger.  Even helping/teaching a neighbor kid to fix a flat or work with colors, we can make a difference.  Hopefully others will be inspired by our example.  ‘So to teach that my words and actions inspire a will to learn; so to serve that each day may enhance the growth of exploring minds; so to live that I may guide young and old to know the truth and love the right.’  Pretty good words to live by, eh?”

To learn more about volunteering for Kappa Delta Pi, head to the Get Involved page on the KDP website.