Dr. Shree Walker, Director of Section 504 and Special Populations for Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and an Adjunct Professor of Education at Belmont University, spoke at Harpeth Hall's all-school assembly honoring and celebrating Black History month. She shared her personal life story including how she persevered through her challenging childhood and eventually moved to Nashville, Tennessee after being accepted to Fisk University.
Dr. Walker has been faced with many obstacles in her life's journey. As the eldest of six children growing up in a poverty-stricken, single parent home with a very young mother who often could not provide for their basic needs, including electricity; Shree craved structure and uniformity. She grew up in and around the Watts neighborhood in Los Angeles, California in the 1980s and 90s, and she changed schools often. Despite the many factors that could have indicated she was "at-risk" academically, Shree found school to be her safe haven, and she excelled.
After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Fisk University and a Master’s degree from Lipscomb University, she then earned her Education Specialist’s degree in Administration and Supervision from Tennessee State University, where she also earned her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. In addition to her responsibilities at MNPS and Belmont University, she is also author of Resilient Walker, a powerful personal memoir about her refusal to be a victim of circumstance and living through and overcoming trauma.
Dr. Walker's presentation focused primarily on the ways in which we are all similar. She asked the students how they spelled STRUGGLE --- each girl said in unison S-T-R-U-G-G-L-E, and Walker said "See, we all spell struggle the same way."
She talked more about similarities in the "human spirit."
"No one is exempt from heartache and pain," Walker said. "We are all shaped by our experiences. We all ask ourselves: Am I enough?, Am I too much?, Do I matter?"
"We all spell STRUGGLE the same way," she emphasized, "but I'm challenging you to go deeper. I want you to understand we have all contributed to the human spirit, and we all matter."
Dr. Walker gave the following advice to students:
- Know your truth - don't be afraid to have tough conversations with yourself and others.
- Be inspired - be inspired by understanding you impact the human spirit.
- Seek to understand - seek to understand before seeking to be understood.
- Do what feeds your soul - follow your dreams.
- Believe in the possibilities - anything is possible. ("I'm proof of that," Walker said.)
She asked the students to consider these questions:
- What do people experience when they experience you?
- Do I seek to understand first?
- Do I do what feeds my soul?
Harpeth Hall students, faculty and staff gave Dr. Walker a standing ovation followed by a short question and answer session.
Thank you Dr. Walker for sharing your truth and your inspiring story with us!
Learn more about Dr. Walker's Book: Resilient Walker.
View video of the assembly.