Kathlyn J. Kirkwood CEO and President of Better B LLC was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Research and Evaluation from SUNY Buffalo-NY- in 1984. After working in the corporate setting for many years, she later served as an Assistant Professor of Education (Teacher Education) at numerous colleges and universities from the North to the South, including Canisius College, Buffalo State College, University of Memphis, and Lipscomb University, which gave her a global perspective in preparing pre-service teachers.
Now retired from the collegiate setting, Kathlyn’s full-time passion is her 501(c)(3) Literacy Organization that has a multi-strand focus: A) Professional Development for teachers, librarians, and volunteers, focusing on creative literacy strategies, B) Team Kirkwood Literacy Lab, bringing books to life in innovative workshops that use trade books to engage students and help them learn about the world beyond their immediate surroundings; and C) Creating bookclubs for 5th and 6th-grade middle-grade students.
Kathlyn’s first book, AIN’T GONNA LET NOBODY TURN ME ‘ROUND, is an illustrated memoir-in-verse aimed at middle-grade readers. It tells the story of her involvement in the civil rights movement as a teenager, and how she became involved in the struggle to make Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday a federal holiday. Kathlyn weaves three strands to enlighten the reader- her story of activism, the thousands of nameless and faceless foot soldiers who worked tirelessly for the King holiday, and the legislative branch, which brought the Martin Luther King Bill to fruition. AIN’T GONNA LET NOBODY TURN ME ‘ROUND was published on January 4, 2022, by Versify/Harper Collins.
Under the Team Kirkwood Literacy Lab, Kathlyn and her husband Alan, who recently passed, shared a passion for working with underprivileged 3rd, 4th, and middle-grade students in the Nashville area. Team Kirkwood Literacy Lab will continue to bring books to life for disadvantaged youth, shedding light, and building hope.