2016 Tillman Scholar

Kate McKenney

Military Spouse
Johns Hopkins University
Ed.D., Entrepreneurial Leadership in Education

“I have come to believe diversity within the military community is one of our greatest strengths.”

After earning her Master’s Degree in Education, Kate achieved her dream to teach in underserved schools. For seven years, she taught elementary through community college in schools that faced poverty, corruption, violence, and underfunding. Inspired by her husband’s service as a Marine and by other military families, Kate was impressed by the military’s shared values of service, duty, and care for one another, igniting her passion for working with military families. Utilizing her background in education, Kate was able to serve in leadership roles within Family Readiness and the Children, Youth, and Teen Program for several years aboard their installation.

With their family being transferred to another duty station in 2014 and her husband preparing to deploy, Kate was unemployed with three young children but still was committed to serve her community. Faced with the lack of flexible, affordable, high-quality early childhood programs in her new community, Kate designed an alternative preschool with military families in mind. With support from her husband, the local community and dedication of many parents, Kate’s vision blossomed into a fully enrolled, operation preschool with 70% military families within eight months.

Recognizing the excess demand by military families for flexible, affordable choices for high-quality early childhood education programs, Kate has her sights set on earning her Doctorate in Entrepreneurship Leadership in Education at Johns Hopkins University. Upon earning her degree Kate’s vision is to apply the knowledge and expertise gained through her coursework and research to create a model preschool program that will promote school readiness in military children, which can be duplicated at any military installation.