Degree Girl "Kenya"

My name is Kenya Brown-Burden and I bring you greetings from Rocky Mount, North Carolina. I was raised in Newport News, Virginia where I received all of my foundational schooling. Neither of my parents graduated from college, so their one wish was for me to attend and graduate. I proudly graduated in 1998 from the illustrious Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. #BEHOLD While there I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Early Childhood Education/Interdisciplinary Studies. I taught in several school systems over the years and never thought about going to school to obtain my Master’s Degree.

My mother would always ask me why I never wanted to go back to school. I gave all kinds of excuses...I don’t have time, I don’t want to get into school debt again, and so many other excuses! One of my supervisors at my school sent me an email with information about a grad program that would prepare teachers to go into Administration. I shut it down immediately! I wanted no parts of it. She gently nudged me and I attended the meeting. After leaving, I felt like I could manage the program. I applied and completed a rigorous application process. In May of 2016, I was accepted into the Northeast Leadership Academy (NELA), one of the top principal preparation programs in the country. The best thing about being accepted was that it was fully funded! PRAISE GOD!!!

During my two year program I carried and delivered a baby, continued to work full time as a teacher and a principal resident, attended classes, was a wife and mom, and traveled to many conferences and even out of the country. It wasn’t an easy road. There were many tears and I don’t know how many times I told my classmates I wanted to quit. Glory to God on Friday, May 11, 2018, I graduated with a Master’s Degree in School Administration. It was such a grand moment for not only myself, but for my family who supported this journey.

My advice to other young women is to never say what you won’t do. I said I would never go back to school. I felt like it just wasn’t in the cards for me. I am glad I took a leap of faith and look where I am today..young, black, and educated! We as young black women need to take the opportunities that are presented to us and show people that it can be done. It doesn’t matter the circumstance you may come from. The most important thing is to strive towards the ultimate goal...becoming a better you! I am proud to be a Degree Girl X 2!!!

Much Love


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