I am because we are…the collective impact

Nikita J. Reed says goodbye to Pinellas County Schools

By Nikita J. Reed, Contributor

ST. PETERSBURG — It saddens me to announce that I will not be returning as the Transformation Zone leader next year. My heart was filled with indescribable joy when the St. Petersburg community accepted me into their family with open arms. The Transformation Zone’s sacred river of success included being scholar-centered, maintaining high levels of family participation, and a community of wonderful people who love their children.

All children are geniuses, waiting for adults to strike the match of learning possibilities, through the endless landscape of education. It was this match that sparked an academic turnaround at Melrose Elementary and within the Transformation Zone Schools under my leadership. It was this match that sparked clergy, community leaders, and parents to form a triangulation of success not previously witnessed in Pinellas County Schools.

It was this match that sparked a new covenant between the Transformation Zone Team and “THE” ZONE Professional Educators to successfully educate our children. These sparks caused my heart to swell at the thought of endless relationships I have established with:

  • Our Scholars & Families
  • Men of Yesterday Today and the Future, President Jack Fletcher
  • Former Councilman Karl Nurse
  • Journeys in Journalism Advisory Committee, President Gretchen Letterman
  • Local Business and Corner Store Owners
  • Petersburg Police Department
  • Zion Progressive MBC, Rev. Louis Murphy Sr.
  • Greater Mt. Zion AME Church, Clarence Williams
  • The Faith Based Ministers in south St. Petersburg
  • Former quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jamies Winston
  • Parent Support for Education Council, Pastor Martin Rainey
  • The Naomi and Titus 2 Covenant Alliance Ministries, Inc., President Terry Hodge
  • First United Methodist Church of St. Petersburg, Pastor Craig W. Nelson
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, President Maria Scruggs
  • Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students President Ricardo Davis and Dr. Goliath Davis
  • Suncoast Mental Health Counselors, Supervisor Anneta Carter
  • Juvenile Welfare Board
  • Family Navigators PEMHS Director of Community & Family Services, Courtney Covington
  • University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock
  • Associate Dean & Professor, Dr. Brenda Walker Ph. D., J.D.,
  • AnnMarie Alberton Gunn, Ph. D., Associate Professor Literacy Education
  • Former Fla. Department of Education, Chancellor Hershel Lyons
  • Horace Mann, John Baron Crager Exclusive Agent Suncoast Insurance LLC
  • Pinellas Education Foundation
  • City of St. Petersburg
  • The Carter G. Woodson Museum
  • Transformation Zone Parent Ambassadors, Family Liaisons, Student Services Teams, Head Plant Operators and crew, Cafeteria workers, Crossing Guards, Office Staff personnel

A very special thanks to the families of two individuals who passed away. These individuals, Mr. Robert Southard, Family Liaison (April 13, 2020), and Mrs. Cheryl Maxwell, Special Education Associate (March 9, 2019), served our scholars, families, and community in a commendable way. They were the wind beneath my wings during my two-year tenure as principal of Melrose Elementary.

I will miss the community leaders, parents, faculty, staff, Transformation Zone principals, assistant principals, instructional coaches, and, most of all, our scholars. Their faces, stories, and love will always be hidden within my heart.

I always remind my strong scholars to not sit in the shadows, but to stand in the sun!  Thank you for being the match sparking this special part of my life’s journey. In “THE” ZONE schools, we educate by the motto: Transformation = Heart + Effort.

From my heart to yours,

Nikita J. Reed

2 Replies to “I am because we are…the collective impact”

  1. Nikita Reed, our lives have been made better because you came this way and shared your passion, intellect and your heart. Your drkve inspired us, your talent impressed us, and your wisdom lead us to believe we could change our scholars trajectory by caring and believing in their ability to achieve.

  2. S. Rose Smith-Hayes says:

    It will be difficult for anyone to fill Ms. Reed’s shoes. She had passion , drive, great ideas and a self sacrificing spirit. I worked closely with her at Melrose as a member of Parent Support for Education, Inc. Mr. Southard was an ‘angel in disguise. He worked hard and never complained. I remember walking the community with him inviting parents and the community to school functions, yes, we walked. I maintained contact with Ms. Reed after she left Melrose. She still stayed up nights working on issues for the ‘scholars’ and their parents. Family engagement did not get needed support from the school system nor the community. I attended the training put together by Dr. Mapp’s team. There was no follow through. I will not discuss my conversations with Ms. reed, but I know, we will see the difference after she leaves.

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