Rhonda Oats was born in (Florala), a tiny rural town located in south Alabama to dedicated and loving parents who believed and instilled in her the importance of education; that education matters. During her formative years, Rhonda’s family moved to Florida where she attended and graduated from public schools. Rhonda earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary-Special Education from Florida A&M University. She began her teaching career in Florida, subsequently relocating to Montgomery, AL to work. During her tenure in Montgomery Public Schools (MPS), she earned the reputation of a loving and caring, yet firm teacher and administrator receiving numerous awards for her dedication including Teacher of the Year, (twice) and WSFA Class Act. Rhonda received a Master’s Degree in Education from Troy State University at Montgomery, and a Certification in Administration from Auburn University at Montgomery. She was accepted into the MPS Principals Academy and after completion was offered an Assistant Principal position in the MPS system. She worked in the school system for 12 years and has been with the State Department of Education for the past 11 years. She is a loving and exceptionally proud mother of one daughter who also attended public schools.
On this journey, Rhonda gives credit for her being a skilled and resourceful professional to several notable educators including Ms. Pettway-Berry (her first grade teacher), Mrs. Linda M. Wilson (retired principal), Mrs. Linda Robinson (Interim Superintendent who placed her in her first teaching position), Mrs. Margaret Allen (former principal and Superintendent), Ms. Edith Barnes (instructor at Troy State at Montgomery), Ms. Eloise Mosely, Mr. Joe Laster, Mr. Randy Shaw (each with a pivotal role in her receiving the assistant principal position), Mrs. Martha Donaldson and Ms. Earlene Patton (instrumental in her securing her present position). Additionally, there are many in “the Village” that prayed and persists in prayer with her on this journey.
Rhonda continues to give back to MPS as she returns each year to assist new teachers on the first day of school. Moreover, she volunteers her time reading to students, serving as a mentor to several of her former students who are seeking education as their careers and serving diligently with organizations/groups whose main goal is helping students improve and master literacy, technology and communication skills.
Rhonda is a member of Maggie Street Missionary Baptist Church, Order of Eastern Star, Phi Delta Kappa, Inc., Leadership Montgomery Class XXIV, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Alabama Education Association, and Council for Leaders in Alabama Schools. She received an award from the Junior League of Montgomery and the City of Montgomery for her time and dedication as a volunteer.
“I believe our schools must provide a safe environment and ample opportunities for all students to achieve and excel. We must clearly focus on building the skills of each student, whether AP, English language learners, or special education for lifelong learning and success in our community to come to fruition. I believe in parental engagement, TEAM work, open dialogue with the community, and high-end student achievement. I am convinced that if each school had access to social workers, behavioral interventionists, and counselors that this would be the game changer. I believe in the public-school system.” Rhonda Oats