“I had excellent and wonderful teachers and til this day, I hate they closed North Forest ISD down. Because my teachers there are the reason, I’m an educator; and because I graduated with a foundation, in my first job as a teacher I went back to Forest Brook to teach high school English. I have known a lot of districts, but they will always be the best students I ever had. They respected me for what I was trying to get for them. They understood I loved them, and it was more about them getting what they needed to succeed.” – Dr. Kimberley N. Booker
By Rebecca S. Jones
HOUSTON – From humble beginnings in Northeast Houston, Dr. Kimberley N. Booker has become a true educator and public servant. Driven by purpose and motivated by a passion she developed during her fundamental years of schooling in the North Forest Independent School District; she has dedicated nearly three decades of service to the field of education. Furthermore, Dr. Booker is an accomplished: Board Trustee, Administrator, Author, Mentor, Chief Executive Officer, Mother, Wife and above all a woman of spiritual conviction with strong Christian values. However, her entitlement in these roles did not come without cost.
At the age of ten, Kimberley’s father passed away. Although her mother, the late Odessa Haywood later remarried her mother primarily raised her and her two brothers alone. Odessa was a praying and God-fearing woman, who instilled sound values and morals within her children. Growing up, Kimberley’s mother always told her she could be anything she wanted to be. While Odessa was a high school graduate and took up some college courses later in life, she always encouraged her daughter to do more and to supersede her accomplishments’.
After graduating from Forest Brook Senior High School, Kimberley matriculated at the University of Houston. Initially, she had a desire to become a physician. However, after enrolling in college it didn’t take her long to realize she didn’t mix well with “Science” and couldn’t stomach the sight of too much “Blood”. Therefore, she regressed to her initial passion, education. Accordingly, she continued on and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston.
Upon completing her studies, she began teaching English at Forest Brook Senior High School. Since that time, she has tirelessly extended over a decade of service to educating students across the Greater Houston and surrounding areas – working in Aldine, Houston and Spring Independent School Districts. Aside from being an instructor, she also worked in administration and served as an Adjunct Professor. Amidst passionately working to educate the “total child”, she returned to school to accomplish a Doctorate degree in Administration and Foundation. During our interview, she shared that it was important for her to attain her Doctorate from Texas Southern University – a local HBCU. A mission she accomplished in 2010.
Driven by Purpose
In February 2017, Dr. Booker was elected as a school board member of the Aldine Independent School District. She said, “The reason I became a school board member is because I believe in students, I believe in student success. I was working in Aldine, until I was elected to be a board member and I resigned because it meant that much to me to support students. I gave up an entire salary to volunteer for the school board and when I did this it wasn’t planned. I hadn’t saved any money; I went to my husband who doesn’t play around when it comes to our finances. We have two sons of our own. But my husband looked at me and said if it means that much to you… Go ahead and do it if it makes you happy! And right there, I knew it was God…”
Throughout her journey, Dr. Booker has made various personal sacrifices for the sake of education and declares she doesn’t regret doing so. Even in the face of having gone through a divorce; losing her home and vehicles; taking pay cuts and demotions in her professional career and experiencing the loss of her mother in 2009, amongst other obstacles; she remained committed to her “Purpose” – Education. So much so, that she established a non-profit organization while working as an educator at Eisenhower Ninth Grade Campus – Young Ladies of Elegance.
Young Ladies of Elegance
Being the proud mother of two well-balanced sons, Dr. Booker always desired a daughter of her own. One day while in meditation on the matter, she was spiritually inspired by God to develop an organization where she would not only mother one daughter, but scores of young girls across the city. Young Ladies of Elegance is a two-fold program – intervention and prevention. Participants have the option to either be a mentor or receive positive mentorship from the staff of Young Ladies of Elegance.
Dr. Booker expressed, YLOE is, “a mentorship, leadership, positive role model organization which shows young ladies how to be leaders on the campus.” She continued, “If we have good girls, we want them to remain good and help somebody else. For the young ladies who have had challenges, well here we are. We say we want to help and that’s what we need to do, stop talking about it and be about helping these young people because they need help.”
For more information about YLOE contact 832-366-3009; visit their website http://youngladiesofelegance.com/index.html or follow them on Facebook @YoungLadiesofElegance.
To affirm her commitment to Young Ladies of Elegance, Dr. Booker authored a book, Momma, I Need Help! She said, “I based it on my organization because, as Black people we don’t always see the importance of our daughters being in a leadership program. A lot of parents want them out there shaking and dancing and half naked. I’m not saying there’s nothing wrong with cheerleading or drill team – but what about their character? What are you teaching them? So, I wrote a book to mothers letting them know – your daughter is crying out for help and you need to see the signs.”
Despite the many changes Dr. Booker has witnessed and experienced in education, she remains humble and always keeps a positive attitude. She strongly believes, “Education is not a joke and it’s essential for our students.”
Aside for being Driven by Purpose in regards to education and mentorship, Dr. Booker has been happily married to the love of her life for 21 years, Elder David Booker. She is also the mother of two outstanding sons, Joseph Williams (28) and Jordan Booker (19), who both volunteer diligently with Young Ladies of Elegance. Dr. Booker also acknowledged her pastor, Pastor Holmes, whose teachings have been essential in helping her identify and operate in her “God-given Purpose”.