USFSM inaugurated a Kappa Delta Pi chapter during a Oct. 13 ceremony.

USFSM welcomes Kappa Delta Pi chapter for aspiring teachers

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: October 16, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 16, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee’s School of Education has officially welcomed a chapter of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international honor society for education.

The chapter, known as Alpha Alpha Rho, was inaugurated during a ceremony Friday at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium. Ten education students and eight administrative, faculty and staff members were inducted into the chapter.

USFSM welcomes Kappa Delta Pi chapter for aspiring teachers

Dr. Marie Byrd addresses inductees.

“Some of the greatest educators in the world have been members of Kappa Delta Pi, and through this new chapter we are recognizing our own outstanding students’ achievements,” said Dr. Marie Byrd, director of the School of Education.

The chartering ceremony came as a surprise for Dr. Elizabeth Elliott, who presided over the event.

A longtime representative of KDP’s national organization, Dr. Elliott received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from USF Sarasota-Manatee in the mid-1990s. She drove up from Fort Myers, where she’s a professor of education at Florida Gulf Coast University.

USFSM welcomes Kappa Delta Pi chapter for aspiring teachers

Dr. Elizabeth Elliott presides over the ceremony.

“It’s just so amazing to be back on this campus,” she said. “It feels like coming home. I feel so comfortable here.”

She added that “it was just a coincidence” she was chosen to oversee the chartering ceremony.

Dr. Byrd, who joined KDP during graduate school, said that like others, she was honored to be a KDP member.

KDP members often maintain membership throughout their careers and frequently cite their membership on resumes, she said. In addition to the camaraderie of fellow teachers, KDP members have access to educational resources and groundbreaking research conferences.

Admission is based on strict standards. Undergraduate students seeking membership must complete 24 credit hours within their major and maintain an overall 3.0 GPA. Graduate students must complete six hours of graduate study with a 3.25 GPA.

Candice Woodworth, an undergraduate elementary education major, said she was thrilled to join KDP. She attended the ceremony with her husband and three children.

“I did this for my kids,” she said. “I wanted to show them that if you work hard you can achieve great success. I have a 4.0 grade point average. I’m so excited to be a part of KDP.”

Students said they felt honored to join the society because it represents excellence in education. They praised the organization’s high standards, commitment to research and camaraderie.

“Just to be a part of the KDP community, to be able to discuss and share ideas, is a great benefit,” said Meaghan Cichowski, a graduate student.

“It’s nice to be honored for your work,” said Jodi Begala, also a graduate student.

The members received certificates and tasseled purple and green cords, which they draped around their necks.

Kappa Delta Pi was formed in 1911 to foster excellence in education and promote fellowship among teachers. About 1.2 million educators and aspiring educators belong to the organization.

Dr. Byrd sought the creation of a USFSM chapter last spring after a conversation with Dr. Jane Rose, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

“Being part of an international honor society is always a privilege,” said Dr. Byrd. “It recognizes high academic achievement and student service to the profession. Members will be able to promote the joy of teaching and support one another as they enter into the teaching profession.”

USFSM welcomes Kappa Delta Pi chapter for aspiring teachers

Dr. Bonnie Jones gives the keynote address.

As part of their service component, the student members will work to create local high school chapters of Future Teachers of America (FTA), a national organization that supports high school students interested in education-related careers.

Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness, was inducted as an undergraduate student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, 45 years ago. At Friday’s ceremony, she delivered the keynote address about how the KDP motto, “Knowledge, Duty, Power,” continues to shape educators today.

“My educational career has come full circle knowing that our USFSM students can take advantage of KDP’s opportunities,” she said.

Dr. Byrd and Dr. G. Pat Wilson, associate director in the School of Education, will serve as the chapter’s counselor and co-counselor, respectively. Amber Lee, office manager for the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, will serve as chapter president.

To learn more about USFSM’s School of Education, visit

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