Top 100 Women of Impact: Katherine Simms Berry, Ed.D.

Katherine Simms Berry, Ed.D.

Founding Program Director, Rural & Diverse Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, Southern Arkansas University

About me: One of the best parts of life is walking alongside incredible people who are family, friends, students, colleagues, volunteers and even strangers. My husband Trey and I have lived across central and southern Arkansas for all of our 31-year marriage. Meaningful, intentional relationships connect us lovingly, no matter the town, church, workplace, volunteer setting or event. A relational purpose was nurtured in me throughout my young life. The great lesson that there are wonderful, interesting, amazing people everywhere continues to shape me today. Trey and I are lifelong learners and career-long educators. It is our great joy and a tender privilege to encourage, support, challenge and inspire the next generation of engaged citizens, especially our two children. We have been well-loved, so we, too, love well.

Lives/Works in: Magnolia

Best Career Advice: Do the best you can with what you have where you are, every day. Do hard things well. Give thanks often. Be brave. Love.

Lesson Learned the Hard Way: Sometimes things go differently than we want them to go. Sometimes change is sudden. Other times change is a slow process. There is an art to learning how to assess a situation during unexpected change, either sudden or slow, and responding gracefully by leading oneself, and oftentimes others, forward.

What Keeps Me Motivated: For me, the question is more about who keeps me motivated. Each day has someone, and sometimes many, who can be served. Usually, it is our students, and that’s a unique motivator day in, day out. Oftentimes it’s our family, sometimes friends, occasionally strangers. But the only way to live out my calling, our purpose, is to live alongside others and walk with them, learn with them, grow with them, suffer with them and love them.

A Women’s Foundation of Arkansas Initiative

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