KERRINS MEMORIAL SCHOLARSHIP

The Judith A Kerrins Memorial Scholarship for Perspective Teachers

To apply for the Judith A. Kerrins Memorial Scholarship for Prospective Teachers you must be a Woodland Park High School graduating Senior. You will need the following:

1.  A completed application form. 

2.  A written response to two of three questions—limited to three pages, total—which shows how your thinking and values align with the values Dr. Kerrins held dear.

3.  A letter of reference from an adult which provides an example of your passion and commitment for working with kids

To apply for this scholarship contact Mark Martin, Counselor, Woodland Park High School, Woodland Park, Colorado 80863 (phone: 719-686-2072).  

To contribute to this scholarship go to http://www.wpsdfoundation.org/ and click on donations.  Please note in the comment section of the Pay Pal submission that funds should be directed to the Kerrins Memorial Scholarship.  

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Judith Kerrins was Superintendent of Schools in Woodland Park from 1982 to 1985 and Assistant Superintendent from 1979 to 1982.  Two scholarships in the amount of $1000 each will be awarded in her memory to recognize two perspective teachers who are Woodland Park High School graduates and who share the same values and commitments to teaching and learning that Dr. Kerrins exemplified.  


Dr. Judith Kerrins’ Story: Judith Kerrins grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago; it was probably from her beloved Grandfather, Ozro Lewis, who was the Warden at the Illinois Women’s prison, that she learned the value of education and of doing serious, important work in service to others. Her first school experience was at age five when she attended a one-room school house where her teacher, Miss Hockenberry, would serve as Judith’s life-long model of what teachers can and should be.

Judith received her BS from St. Xavier University (Chicago, 1965), taught in North Carolina for a few years during desegregation, and then in Illinois before earning an MA in Guidance and Counseling in 1972 from Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. Judith loved Colorado, enjoying hiking, camping, fishing, and backpacking in the mountains.


Judith worked as a K-8 school counselor in Manitou Springs, obtained a school administrative credential, then worked as an elementary principal in western Colorado. From 1979-1982 she was Assistant and then from 1982-85 Superintendent of Schools in Woodland Park. She was among the first public-school superintendents who were female. As Superintendent, she created professional development opportunities for teachers and principals, emphasized the use of technology for learning and instruction, and encouraged principals to spend time in classrooms observing and supporting teaching and learning. During that time she also obtained her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1984.

Beginning in August of 1992, Judith was appointed Associate and then Professor of Educational Leadership and Administration at California State University, Chico. She died in July of 2013 after a 20 month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Belief Statements: Judith loved teaching—whether it was teaching her 5th grade students in North Carolina and Illinois or her MA Administrative Credential students at Chico State. She set high expectations and then designed instruction and support so students would be successful. She asked higher-order questions and encouraged students to work together to solve problems. She emphasized the importance of belief statements in her work with future leaders stating, “what you believe informs what you know and do—if you believe all students will learn in your class, they likely will. And if you believe you will make a difference in people’s lives, you likely will.” She stressed the words “will,” not “can.”

“Is it Good for Kids?” was Judith’s mantra. She always focused the discussions and questions on kids and learning—once you figured out what was good for kids the decision was easy to make. Her passion and commitment was contagious—it was an expectation she had of all she met---don’t go in to teaching or leadership work if you see it as a job or you’ll never survive, let alone perform at an expert level. You must be passionately committed to teaching and learning, and to all students doing well.

Reflection - What I Learned and How I’ll Use It: Judith was a life-long learner, she expected no less from her students, and she used reflective practices to help her students develop the habit of life-long learning. Each meeting, each class, each course ended with reflection—“What did you learn today? How will you use it?” Her intent was that we focus on improvement –she wasn’t necessarily interested in making things easier—but was always interested in making them better.

Even while dying, Judith modeled reflection—what will I give my (former) students, she wondered out loud, to remind them of the leaders and teachers they can become, to remind them to hold high expectations for all students, to remind them to always focus on what’s best for kids, and to remind them to reach for the stars?

Comments from Students:

“As I attended her classes and became immersed in group discussions and interactive journals . . . I soon realized that Dr. Kerrins wouldn’t simply be my professor, but my coach and my mentor. . . . She facilitated and fostered a learning environment that honored her students’ expertise and contributions. She strategically crafted activities and assignments that challenged students into a series of engaging debates requiring participants to struggle with the content and balance research data, common sense, reasoning and problem solving strategies to reach a practical resolution . . . . In her last email she planted one last seed as she left me with a final challenge. She wrote, “I have no doubt that you will one day earn the title of Dr. Maria Elena Diaz."

As a second generation Latina and daughter of immigrant farm laborers, her belief in me means the world.” -----(Maria Elena Diaz, 7/31/2013)

“I honestly feel I owe all of my success in getting this new [administrative] position to you. Through your style of teaching and training, I had internalized all of the information I needed to be successful. I not only knew the right things to say in the interview, but I believe these things and most important, I believe in myself and my own abilities. I was calm, centered, confident and articulate in my answers, and it really came across.” -----(Fred Ehmke, 7/17/2000)