First of all, we love your name. Tell us how your parents named you this awesome name. I know Kendra, but what is La all about?
“It’s a pretty simple answer. My mom’s name is Linda, so she wanted an L name, but she met a woman with the name right before I was born and basically said she loved it.”
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were your born, raised and where do you live now?
“I was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. I am not a Cowboys fan, but definitely the biggest Texas Longhorns fan. That’s the right UT.”
Family? Married? Children?
“I will be married for seven years in September. We are currently raising my 12-year-old nephew, but I am a granddaughter, daughter and sister to a wonderful grandmother, mother and brother.”
Where did you graduate high school? College? Degree?
“I graduated from a magnet school in Dallas Texas, then matriculated at the University of Texas at Austin, where I received bachelor’s degrees in both psychology and social work within four years. From there, I attended National Louis University in Illinois, where I received my master’s degree in education with a concentration in administration and supervision.”
I understand you are the principal at STRIVE Collegiate Academy in Donelson. Tell us about STRIVE Collegiate Academy and how you came to be the principal.
“STRIVE Collegiate Academy is a fifth- through eighth-grade charter, public middle school where we are grounded in literacy and leadership. Our mission is to empower students with a literacy-based curriculum in a culture that encourages leadership, virtue and excellence. I was hired by the Tennessee Charter School Center to start a charter school in Nashville, and I chose the McGavock cluster. I was approved in 2014 by the Metro Nashville Public Schools’ board to open STRIVE in 2015. In 2015, we started with fifth grade, and each year, we have added a grade level up to eighth grade.”
And, are you current president of the Donelson Rotary Club? If you are, you are very community oriented. How so? What is your role there?
“I am and have always been community oriented. Since I could volunteer, I was volunteering. I received college scholarships for my community work. We focus on the need of the community and find ways to either support or promote the great work happening. One example is our annual elementary school teacher appreciation event.”
Who is your mentor? Why? Are you a mentee to anyone?
“My mom is the person who pushes me the most. Her dedication and drive as a single parent to ensure my brother and I had what we needed and more is what keeps me going. If she could do it alone, I know I can do it with a team of people.”
If you could spend an evening with anyone, past or present, who and why? What would you ask?
“I am not really into famous people. I would really just spend more time with my family, specifically my grandmother.”
Best piece of advice you’ve received? Given?
“The best advice I received is you never know who you will need, so ensure you treat people as if you want to be treated regardless of how they treat you.”
“I love naps, but when I am not asleep, I love reading and spending time with my husband, nephew and STRIVE students, of course.”
Are you a foodie? If so favorite dish and favorite restaurants?
“I am not really a foodie, but my favorite food is Mexican.”
What would surprise us about you?
“I am pretty simple. I think I have been blessed to be at this point in my life.”
Where do you see yourself in five years?
“I want to be still serving people.”
Do you like to travel? If so, favorite place you’ve visited? Somewhere you’d love to visit when it’s safe?
“I love to travel, and the best place I’ve visited thus far has been Dubai. I haven’t been to Paris yet, but would love to go soon.”
How are you navigating these weird times?
“I pray and STRIVE. I am constantly going to the Word, so I can stay grounded. STRIVE takes a lot of my time, so planning for the best solutions for our team and families is the highlight of my time.”
Some answers were edited.