Slowing Down, from the Fred Rogers April 2022 newsletter
February 15, 2022
Black History Month – Celebrating Rita Pierson, Ed.D.
It is Black History Month, and we are celebrating Early Childhood Black Educators.
Rita Pierson, Ed. D., born in Houston, Texas, was a child of educators. After graduating with her teaching degree from Elmhurst College, she began her career in 1972, teaching in elementary, junior high, and special education over the years. She also served as a school counselor, assistant principal, testing coordinator, and consultant. From the time she started, she was an advocate for children in every role she held. Many of our core values here at LeafSpring, community, leadership, and ownership, were shared by Ms. Pierson.
You may have seen her Ted Talk from 2013, where she spoke on the importance of connecting with students and becoming their champions. In the Talk, she said, “Every child deserves a champion—an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be. I gave [my students] a saying to say: ‘I am somebody. I was somebody when I came. I’ll be a better somebody when I leave.”
Ms. Pierson passed away in 2013, shortly after her Ted Talk. She will be remembered as a fierce advocate for children, promoting connection and relationships and leaving that legacy behind with the thousands of educators she reached through her professional development and trainings.