Ruthie A. Rea, a two-time graduate of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, was named a winner of the 2019 New Pittsburgh Courier Women of Excellence Award. The award is given each year to 50 African American women in the Greater Pittsburgh area who are making a considerable impact in the community.
Rea is a principal at Arsenal PreK-5, a Pittsburgh public school in heart of the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Rich in diversity, Arsenal’s student body represents about 20 countries and over a dozen languages spoken. One-third of their population is enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.
Rea earned her Master of Education in 2002 and Doctor of Education (EdD) in 2018 from Pitt Education.
“My school is very diverse, so I see it as my job to provide culturally responsive training to our teachers so that we can best serve the students. What I learned in the EdD program has guided my work here and helps my colleagues and myself,” said Rea.
According to Rea, culture is central in the learning process at her school. Not only does it play an important role in how people communicate and receive information, it outlines the thinking process of groups and individuals. The culturally responsive pedagogy implemented at Arsenal under Rea’s leadership is designed to acknowledge, respond to, and celebrate culture in a way that provides equitable access to education for students of all backgrounds.
“At my school, we emphasize providing diverse content to our students while maintaining high academic standards. This means making sure students see themselves in the books they read and facilitating conversations about culture and diversity in our community,” says Rea.
The New Pittsburgh Courier Women of Excellence Class of 2019 were honored in a luncheon held in downtown Pittsburgh on December 12, 2019.