Former U.S. Secretary of Education to Speak at MLK Program

Published on: January 07, 2009

Lone Star College-Kingwood is pleased to host Dr. Rod Paige, former United States Secretary of Education, at its annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Program on Thursday, January 15.   

Dr. Paige will speak on the theme, "Experiencing the Dream."  The MLK Program is sponsored by the African American Student Association (AASA) and is free and open to the public.  The program will be held at 12:30 p.m. in the SFA Performing Arts Theatre. 

Dr. Rose Austin, Dean for Institutional Effectiveness and AASA sponsor, says, "We are pleased to have a speaker of this caliber to speak at a student-sponsored event."

Paige served as Secretary of Education between January 20, 2001 and January 20, 2005.  He was the first African American to serve in that position.  As Secretary, he worked to implement President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind Act and encouraged states to create accountability plans to ensure student success.  By June 2003, every state had an approved accountability plan in place.

Dr. Paige, the son of a public school principal and librarian, grew up in segregated Monticello, Mississippi.  He earned his bachelor's degree from Jackson State University and then both his master's and a doctoral degree from Indiana University.  He served for a decade as Dean of the College of Education at Texas Southern University (TSU) where he established the University's Center for Excellence in Urban Education, a research facility that concentrates on issues related to instruction and management in urban school systems.  In 1994, he left TSU to become superintendent of the Houston Independent School District, the nation's seventh largest school district.

"When at all possible, we select a speaker who lived in the civil rights era and knows firsthand the works of Martin Luther King," says Dr. Austin.

Since leaving office, Dr. Paige founded the Chartwell Education Group.  The firm provides education-related consulting services to state and local governments, foundations, corporations, and countries seeking the best models of education globally.

As part of the program, the AASA recognizes individuals and groups who provide community service.  This year service awards will be given to two service learning student groups and to a community organization.  Students who restored local cemeteries and students who helped construct homes in the Philippines will be recognized.  History professor, Dean Wolfe, and geology professor, Cherith Letargo, coordinated these projects. 

The community organization being recognized is Jack and Jill of America-Humble/Kingwood Chapter.  Founded in 1938, Jack and Jill of America is the oldest and largest African American family organization in the United States.   It is committed to ensuring that all children have the same opportunities in life.   Linda Willies, the president of the local chapter, will accept the award on behalf of the chapter.

For more information on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial program, call 281-312-1448.

In February, to celebrate Black History Month, AASA will host the annual Black History Dinner Theatre.  The event will be held on February 21 at 6 p.m. in the SFA Performing Arts Theatre Atrium.  Tickets are $25.  Seating is limited and reservations are encouraged.  For more information contact Dr. Austin at 281-312-1674.

For general information about Lone Star College-Kingwood, call 281-312-1600 or visit our Web site at kingwood.lonestar.edu.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including Cy-Fair, Kingwood, Montgomery, North Harris, and Tomball, six centers and the Lone Star College-University Center. With 49,250 students, it is the largest college system in the Houston area, and third largest community college district in Texas. To learn more, visit lonestar.edu.