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DR. NARDOS KING
U.S. ARMY SPOUSE
Virginia
DR. NARDOS KING DR. NARDOS KING

SHE WORKS TO CLOSE THE ACHIEVEMENT GAP FOR STUDENTS

By Kristin Davis
Photo by Mike Morones

Nardos King was planning her wedding to then-2nd Lt. Stan King, USA, when she took a job as a substitute teacher at the high school she’d graduated from. For eight months, she worked with special education students.

'We create the achievement gap in our country, and we try to figure out how to close it.'

The discovery that some students could not read at grade level — and that most of the special ed students were African American boys — came as a shock to King, who was just out of college. Those facts weighed on her, even as she joined her new husband in Germany.

When she returned to the Washington, D.C., area in 1995 with her husband, she pursued a master’s degree in special education from George Washington University. King went back in the classroom, teaching math to special ed students.

She went on to serve as a high school principal and an assistant superintendent for high schools and executive director for secondary schools in Baltimore County, Md. She kept working to close the achievement gap between white and minority students: In 2015, King implemented the first Early College Magnet Program in the Baltimore school district and increased high school graduation rates every year — with zero gap between Black and white students.

King earned a doctorate, and in 2019 was named assistant superintendent for Fairfax Ward 3. Her goal was to ensure all students had the same opportunities.

“In our country, we have different levels of curriculums, and we pick and choose who gets access. That’s why we have disparities,” she said. “We create the achievement gap in our country, and we [need to] try to figure out how to close it.”

What if instead of dividing students into advanced, general, and special education curriculums based on tests they took in third grade, King said, all students received the best curriculum and the resources and support to be successful?

When King isn’t advocating for students, she is advocating for breast cancer patients through the Donna M. Saunders Foundation, which she helped establish in 2012 to honor her friend who died in 2010. Last year, the foundation awarded $45,000 in grants to breast cancer patients with urgent needs.

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This material originally appeared in Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA PREMIUM and LIFE members.

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