After years of schooling and earning numerous degrees, 44-year-old Dr. Katrina Sparks dedicates her life to enriching the well-being of young students, especially those with ADD and ADHD. She serves Yonkers Public School by working with students with borderline special education needs.
Sparks says that she’s a “jack of all trades.” She also works as a private contractor in early intervention in children up to 3 years old who have suspected developmental delays and does speech therapy.
Originally from Westbury, N.Y., Sparks grew up in the South Bronx and had several ideas about what she wanted to do in terms of her career.
“When I was growing, I decided I wanted to go into the medial field, but I wasn’t that great at math and science,” she said. “I’ve always liked children and I love playing with them and working with them.”
Once Sparks decided what profession she wanted to go into, she soon began her extensive academic work. She attended SUNY Oswego for two years before going to Lehman College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in African-American studies with a minor in early childhood education. Sparks then went to Long Island University, earning a master’s in education and special education with a concentration in learning disabilities.
Hungry for more academics, Sparks went to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, earning a degree in administration then Argosy University in Florida for a degree as an educational specialist. In 2007, she earned her Ph.D. from Capella University in professional studies with a concentration in education.
“Education is powerful thing,” Sparks said. “My mother is 83 and grew up during a time when many Blacks couldn’t further their education. My parents always instilled in me the need to get my education. They said it was my passport to the world, and [my mother] said she wanted better for me then what they had.”
While she currently works in the school system, Sparks said she wants to spread her knowledge while at the same time make a difference among youth. She has plans to explore the media world, with interest in doing talk radio and writing a book discussing special needs.
She said, “It makes me feel good as if I have done what I am supposed to do. I enjoy the feeling I get when I am helping a child overcome obstacles and giving parents information about things they can accessw.”
Along with working in education, Sparks has also worked in the political realm and in the community. She interned for former New York Gov. David Paterson when he was a state senator and she is a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority.