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Determined (And Controversial) Urban Educator Tells Her Story

Bertie Simmons and students and a Houston rarity.
Bertie Simmons and students and a Houston rarity.

Bertie Simmons grew up white in the Jim Crow South, not understanding why people of different skin colors were kept apart. Her life's work was in education, serving for nearly six full decades in the major school district in Houston, through the years of integration.

Simmons got a reputation for unorthodox approaches to problems in her schools, including a high school that was regarded as a dropout factory and prison prep center.

We get the stories and the thinking behind them in Simmons' book Whispers of Hope: The Story of My Life. Bertie Simmons is our guest on the JX.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily news program focused on issues, people and events across Southern Oregon and Northern California. Angela Decker is the program's senior producer, Charlie Zimmermann is the assistant producer, and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.