We are pleased, once again, to have Dr. Pamela Short Powell at our Women of Achievement Breakfast on April 14th. Dr. Powell has served as the Mistress of Ceremonies for the last 10 years. This year she is back as MC and will offer a special message as well. If you miss the event, you will be missing a treat. The annual event honors women in the Pasadena area by highlighting their achievements in various ﬁelds. For our tenth anniversary, this year, we are honoring women in education.
Dr. Powell spent nearly 40 years serving as an educator in the public school system. She served as the Superintendent of Schools of the Inglewood Uniﬁ ed School District, the Interim Superintendent for the Oklahoma City Public Schools, the Chief Academic Ofﬁ cer for Oklahoma City Public Schools, and the Assistant Superintendent for Schools, Director of Elementary Instruction, Principal, Curriculum Resource Specialist and teacher for the Pasadena Uniﬁ ed School District.
She has been an advocate for children and youth with special challenges throughout her career. She believes in Black students and believes in providing opportunities for them. On a personal note, my oldest son had a silk-screening business in the 80’s. In Dr. Powell’s position at that time, she asked for bids to provide young people with entrepreneurial opportunities with PUSD. My son was encouraged to apply. He was bold enough to bid and won to provide silkscreened gym uniforms. This propelled him to bid and gain the City of Pasadena’s 100th Anniversary contract to print T-shirts, and later the contract to print shirts for the NBA Summer Basketball League. Dr. Powell also helped my youngest son when he was accepted to go to England to study for his Ph.D. She encouraged him to go and, more importantly, shut down any objection I had about him going overseas. Dr. Powell has also been the moving force for getting young Blacks as Principals in the school districts. To many, she remains their mentor as they move up the educational leadership ladder.
Dr. Powell has been an advocate for children and youth with special challenges throughout her career. She currently advises community leaders, families and organizations on issues impacting educational disparities. She is the president of the National Council on Educating Black Children and the past president of the California Association of African American Superintendents and Administrators. She stays involved with other national educational leaders in implementing legislation that focus on “Boys and Men of Color”, “Increasing Graduation Rates and Preventing Drop Out Rates,” decreasing the disproportion number of suspension and expulsion of children and youth of color and the disparities of students of color referred into special education.
I wonder if we would be looking at closing down a number of our public schools if she were still in a position to make a difference. As a product of the 60s, I am a believer that we have a lot to do. I have served as President of Black Students Union at Pepperdine College and worked as a program developer for Angeles Girl Scout Council. These jobs were essential to moving the Civil rights’ movement forward. I watched as many of the Civil Rights activists gained some progress for themselves and their personal goals. Too many stopped their activism after their personal progress, but Dr. Powell is not one of those. She continues working to gain progress for the next generation. Eternal vigilance is a motto left over from the Civil Rights Movement and is still necessary to keep the progress moving. Her work continues as she is still involved in leadership roles for Black Educational organizations. She currently advises community leaders, families and organizations on issues impacting educational disparities.
My hat is off to Dr. Powell for who she is, what she does, and all she has done. Her life is a model for continued success for Black America. She lives by a motto that says, in essence, “My life doesn’t mean much, if I don’t help another reach their goal.”
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