Dr. Jessie O. Kirksey is a native of Alexandria, Louisiana. She moved with her family to Kansas City, Kansas, at the age of two. Growing up in her beloved “5th Street” neighborhood set the tone of a lifetime of commitment, resolution, and hunger for learning. The support and expectations of her family, extended family, community and church led her to be an outstanding scholar and graduate of the world-renowned, Sumner High School, Kansas City, Kansas. From there she enrolled at Kansas State College, at Pittsburg, Kansas, graduating with honors with a B.S. in Education. Her lifetime dream and dream of her mother was realized when she began her teaching career at 21 years of age.
After three years of successful classroom teaching experience, Dr. Kirksey was recruited by administration to pursue her Reading Specialist Certification. She accomplished this by completing graduate studies and receiving an M.S. in Reading. Her career as Title I Reading Specialist began to soar when she was, again, recruited by central administration to serve as Vice Principal. This led to an assignment as Principal in one of the most challenging schools in the Kansas City, Missouri School District. Her administration took her to all areas of the school district. Dr. Kirksey saw “No Alps”. She was, and remains, 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. These accomplishments continued as Dr. Kirksey became the Director of Elementary Education. During this time, she assisted in the implementation and monitoring of the most comprehensive desegregation court order in the nation.
Her successes are locally, as well as nationally, recognized. She is often called upon to serve as mentor, consultant, facilitator, lecturer, board member, and team leader. She is indeed a “Solutions Architect” for the challenges facing public education today. She is a life-long learner, who continually strives for excellence. 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.