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Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life

Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life

by Bertie Simmons
Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life

Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life

by Bertie Simmons


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Whispers of Hope, The Story of My Life, is a compelling narrative detailing the life of a young girl born in the deep south during the Jim Crow era. Her tale includes her realization that to make a better life for herself and others, she must run away from the struggles of her young life and go headlong into a world about which she knows nothing.

Bertie Simmons eventually finds her way to Houston where she serves successfully for 58 years in many leadership positions within a large urban school district. Her career included experiences as a teacher, elementary school principal, assistant superintendent, district superintendent, and high school principal. Whispers of Hope allows the reader to witness the painfully slow process of integration and introduces the heroes who demonstrated the courage to fight for equity in education.

Bertie Simmons’ journey includes numerous awards and recognitions such as being named HEB’s Best High School Principal in Texas award in 2011 and KHOU’s Spirit of Texas award. In addition, Furr was one of only three schools in the nation identified for the College Board Inspiration Award in 2011.

The story culminates with her adventures and challenges as the principal in a “throwaway” high school labeled “a pipeline to prison” and a “drop-out factory.” The reader learns of her seventeen-year tenure at Furr High School and her innovative approach to building a culture of community and student success that leads to the school receiving the XQ ten-million-dollar grant from Laurene Powell Jobs in 2016 to rethink high schools. Known as a visionary and a change agent who brought out the best in her students, the high-energy educator arrived at Furr High School at 6:30 a.m. each school day.

Bertie Simmons guides us through the painful experience of having her dreams dashed, and yet, she emerges with a strong commitment to spreading hope across the landscape. Bertie Simmons emerges strong and valiant. Whispers of Hope is a hero’s journey.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781734060416
Publisher: Bertie Simmons
Publication date: 11/02/2019
Pages: 358
Sales rank: 703,728
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.97(d)

Table of Contents

Whispers of Hope


Preface 5

1 That Strange Feeling 9

2 The Vines 13

3 The Drifters 17

4 War 23

5 The Taste of Injustice 29

6 A Friendship Pact 33

7 Learning to be Brave 37

8 School of Hard Knocks 43

9 A Tattered Life Quilt 49

10 More and More Broken Promises 55

11 Help Wanted 63

12 A Whole New World 71

13 Blankets of Courage 75

14 Taking Chances 81

15 Embracing the Joy of Broader Challenges 91

16 Love and Loss and the Spirit of Forgiveness 95

17 Growing Together in Spirit and Mind 101

18 I Travel Mostly Alone and at Night 107

19 Looming Disaster 113

20 The Unbelievable 119

21 The Struggle to Maintain Ethics 131

22 A Return to the East End 133

23 Identifying Problems and Seeking Solutions 141

24 The Struggle Begins 145

25 Making Sense of Small Schools 151

26 Once More with Feeling 155

27 Being in the Arena 159

28 Hope Reigns Eternal 163

29 Beyond Bartering 171

30 Running for Safety 175

31 Heartbreak 181

32 A Magical Experience 183

33 Spring Came on, But Not Forever 189

34 Stormy Weather 195

35 Not to be Believed 197

36 In Search of Compassion 203

37 They Came from the East Bearing Hope 207

38 Looking for the Summit 213

39 A Few Ordinary, Motivated Individuals 219

40 The Rumble 223

41 Stitching the Pieces Together 233

42 In Search of a Dream 241

43 A Dream Interrupted 249

44 Blood, Sweat and Joy 261

45 A Deeper Dive 271

46 Intentionality 281

47 Restoration 289

48 Breaking Boundaries 293

49 The Possible Impossible 297

50 Unexpectedly, the New Normal 307

51 The Beginning of the End 315

52 The Final Blow 327

53 Absolution 337

54 We Are Better than This 341

Epilogue 345

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