Kathleen Smith Named ATHENA Award Recipient

Kathleen SmithKathleen Smith, Director of Brockton Community Schools and first female Brockton Superintedent was named the 2013 ATHENA Award Recipient by the Metro South Chamber of Commerce on June 13, at the Shaw’s Center, Brockton. The Grand Sponsor of the event was Crescent Credit Union.  Supporting sponsors included The Shaw’s Center and the Brockton Rox.

The International ATHENA Award is presented to an exceptional individual who has achieved excellence in his/her business or profession, has served the community in a meaningful way, and has assisted women in reaching their full leadership potential. The ATHENA Awards Program was created in 1982 and has expanded to over 500 cities. The Metro South Chamber of Commerce believes in the values underlying the ATHENA Foundation’s philosophy of incorporating the talents and expertise of women into the leadership of our businesses, communities and government.

Kathleen Alward Smith serves as a mentor and a role model to both young women and fellow female administrative employees in the Brockton Public School system, where she will soon become the first female superintendent of schools. Kathleen exemplifies strong values, beliefs, and attitudes that inspire others to strive for excellence and achieve the highest level of professionalism. She encourages all of those around her to work towards and attain their goals. Her leadership and friendly demeanor has been supportive and encouraging of innovation, while continuing to demand accountability and positive outcomes for program performance. Kathleen’s strong sense of commitment and dedicated service to the students, staff and residents has gained a deep respect within the community.

Kathleen has been an integral part of the City’s school system for over 35 years. She currently serves as the Director of Community Schools, a position she has held since 2001. Over the years, she has taught both regular and special education students and has served as a school adjustment counselor, where she has mentored students and young women, nurturing the social and emotional health of
those that have surrounded her. Through her position within the Community Schools Department, Kathleen has also provided supervision of the Adult Learning Center (ALC), which offers GED preparation, English courses and citizenship preparation classes for adult learners, many of whom are mothers of children attending Brockton Public Schools. Kathleen has been a champion of the ALC program recognizing the positive changes education makes in the lives of families, both economically and inter-personally, which in turn further nurtures and motivates the youth of Brockton. Under Kathleen’s leadership, Family Connections English Language Classes for parents has expanded into some of the elementary and middle schools.

Kathleen has also exemplified her leadership within the community through her service in policy development for the city’s personnel department, as well as working on a partnership between schools and local area businesses. Kathleen is a member of many professional  associations, including the Massachusetts Bar Association, and has served on various boards, including the Mayor’s Task Force, the TDA Scholarship Committee and the DJ Dream Fund. In addition, Kathleen uses her education and law background to lecture at Fitchburg State University. Kathleen’s dedication to the community was recognized in 2011 when she was honored by the Brockton Youth Foundation at their annual Breakfast with Champions for her leadership, providing programs that support youth taking place outside of school hours.

Kathleen holds a bachelor’s degree in special education and elementary education from Westfield State College, a master’s degree in guidance counseling from Bridgewater State University, and a juris doctorate from New England School of Law.

Prior recipients of the ATHENA Award include Ruth Bramson, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Elaine Reiser, Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc., Anne DeMinico, St. Joseph Manor,  Sue Joss, Brockton Neighborhood Health Center, Vanessa Tierny, Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc., Dr. Susan Szachowicz, Brockton High School Principal,  Loretta DeGrazia, East Coast Petroleum,  Marianne Wroble Cox, WXBR 1460 AM, Shailah Stewart, Brockton Public Schools, Dr. Linda Faria Braun, Adult Learning Center, Christine Karavites, Proteas Customized Consulting,  Barbara Duffy, Brockton Area Multi-Services, Inc., Noelle Foye, Fuller Craft Museum,  Janice Cunningham, E. Bridgewater Police Officer.

As part of the ATHENA Program, there was an EXPO featuring over 15 businesses, a presentation by Robert Zenn Phillips and Natalie Masri, Center for Women in Business, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, an interview segment with Carrie Campbell, Fenway Enterprises, and a workshop by Joanie Winbeg titled “People Skills for All Situatios”.  For more information, or to nominate an individual for the 2014 ATHENA Award, contact Kimberly Prosper at 508.586.0500 x 231.

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