(Wilmington, Del.) Dr. Sondra Shippen, Head of School at Kuumba Academy Charter School in Wilmington, who worked tirelessly to improve education for all children, died today following a courageous battle with cancer. She was 61 years old.
"Dr. Shippen was a visionary leader with a contagious enthusiasm for celebrating Kuumba Academy’s first decade of service and moving the school forward towards the future,' said staff members at Kuumba Academy. "She was an eternal optimist, always seeing the potential in every child. As a motivational leader she strove to instill these qualities in her staff. Dr. Shippen believed that every child deserves an excellent education and that it could only come through ‘revolutionizing’ the current education system.'
Dr. Shippen, who became Head of School at Kuumba Academy in 2006, began her career working with children in Pennsylvania in 1974 as a community educator with the Developmental Disabilities Day Care Center in Philadelphia. Just two years later, she became the director of the Buck Lane Day Care Center in Haverford, PA.
From 1978-1981, Dr. Shippen became Director of Day Care Services for Delaware County Government Offices in Chester, PA. In 1981, she became a caseworker for the Delaware County Department of Children and Youth Services in Media, PA. From 1989 to 1999, she became Executive Director of the Delaware County Head Start Program in Delaware County, PA.
From 1999-2004, Dr. Shippen worked at Cheney University of Pennsylvania as Professor of Early Childhood Education Courses; Director of the Early Childhood Academy; and Director of Sponsored Programs.
From 2004-2006, Dr. Shippen was Project Director for United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania – The Early to Learn Project, in Philadelphia. In 2006, Dr. Shippen assumed her role as Head of School at Kuumba Academy Charter School.
For more than 30 years, Dr. Shippen also served as an instructor with the Early Childhood Department at Delaware County Community College in Media, PA.
Dr. Shippen received her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Social Welfare from Morgan State University in 1970; a Masters of Education in Educational Administration from Widener University in 1981; and her Doctorate in Education with a focus on Innovations in Educational Leadership from Wilmington College in 2004.
Dr. Shippen was married for more than 30 years to James Shippen and has one daughter, Erica.
One of Dr. Shippen’s favorite quotes was "Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see' authored by John W. Whitehead.
For further information, please contact Dr. Joan Coker, VP of Human Resources for the Board of Directors at Kuumba Academy Charter School who can be reached at (302) 472-6450.
Delaware Department of Education
401 Federal Street, Suite #2
Dover, Delaware 19901
Phone: (302) 735-4035
Fax: (302) 739-4654
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