The Doris Ross Reddick Legacy


EARLY YEARS: Born into a family of educators, Doris Ross Reddick is a native of Tampa and a product of the Hillsborough County School System graduating from George S. Middleton Senior High. She is also a graduate of Bethune-Cookman College and the University of South Florida (USF).


She began her teaching career as a substitute teacher at Simmons, one of the Strawberry Schools of Plant City, in 1947 and later as a full time teacher at Dunbar, Meacham and College Hill Elementary Schools. She integrated George Washington Elementary in the Kingston New York public school system by becoming their first Black teacher at that school. Upon returning to Tampa she rejoined the Hillsborough County School System as a resource teacher. After two years she served as a Reading Specialist at Carver Elementary. She later became the first Black Learning Specialist/Assistant Principal in the county working at Thonotosassa Elementary School. She was appointed as an Educational Diagnostician with the Model Cities Educational Component of the County System and later as a Curriculum Coordinator for Early Childhood Learning Centers. Also during her career she taught adult evening classes at Blake, lectured at Hillsborough Community College and USF, was a USF Criminal Justice Department special research project interviewer, trained Head Start teachers and was a member of the planning team for the first Hillsborough County public school Head Start and kindergarten programs.


She co-authored the language communication study, “Let’s Cross Over the Wall” with Mrs. Atlamese Simmons to bridge the gap between white teachers and their students during integration. Mrs. Simmons was a former Jackson Heights Elementary principal and very dear friend. Mrs. Reddick also co-authored “Introduction to Word Processing – Using Theology to Teach Technology” with her daughter, Clemmie C. Perry. This publication is a bible based approach introducing technology by highlighting parallel concepts.


Mrs. Reddick retired from the Hillsborough County School System in 1980 after a full and rewarding career. She and her beloved husband (Harold Reddick) immersed themselves into ten years of church humanitarian projects, traveling and Elder Hostel lifelong learning. Education, politics and health were their favorite subjects. She also kept her skills fresh by developing curricula for St. Paul United Methodist Church’s “ROA’s Arch” program.


In 1992 Reddick was elected to the Hillsborough County School Board becoming the first Black woman to hold that position and two years later was unanimously elected as chair and the first Black woman to serve in that capacity. She became the voice for children and minority businesses and under her leadership annual minority business allocations rose from a meager $1,084 to millions. She served three terms totaling twelve years and retired in 2004.


On May 3, 2009 the Doris Ross Reddick Elementary School was dedicated to honor Mrs. Reddick’s service. This was another historical moment for at that time she joined the rank of her mother, who Clemmie Ross James Elementary School is named for.


Throughout her tenure as an educator, or school board member or education advocate, she was never too busy for family. Family was and continues to be paramount for Mrs. Reddick. She has a wonderful family which includes two sons, a daughter, a God daughter, step son and daughter-in-law, four grandchildren and host of cherished loved ones who have adopted themselves into her family.

FAITH: With all of this said, it was only through the grace of God that any of it was possible. Supporting her on her spiritual journey were Allen Temple AME, Mt Olive AME, St. Paul United Methodist Church and Hyde Park United Methodist Church.