Education Opens Our Minds – And Our Hearts

Dr. Kathryn Marker is an educator through and through. She’s also a manager of people, and the pandemic has shown her more than ever that you “should not assume that you understand what your colleagues are thinking and worried about.” She is frequently in thoughtful conversation with her mother, who has lived with Kathryn’s family for more than 20 years. They discuss the news, trustworthy sources, and learning to think critically about the constant flow of information we receive over the television and social media.

Before Kathryn answers a question about what frustrates her during the pandemic, she is careful to say first that she feels fortunate about her life circumstances, that her basic needs are being met. 

When asked about how people change in the way they trust or distrust scientists and experts, she says that “we have to insist that we have an education populace,” and to do that, we need to “support the efforts of people who can’t support themselves.”

Kathryn’s perspective comes from more than 20 years in education, as a teacher, professor, and policy expert in grants, training, and outreach; from managing a team of employees in the workplace, and from conversations from her mother about education, trust, and the news.


Dr. Kathryn Marker holds degrees from Miami University (Ohio), from Georgia State University, and from NC State University, where she graduated with a PhD in Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. Previously she has taught high school in Texas, Georgia, and North Carolina. In North Carolina, she taught several courses in the undergraduate teacher preparation program at NC State during her time as a doctoral student. Since 2014, I has worked in the education policy industry.

In this role, she oversees the division which administers the state’s K12 tuition assistance programs, post-secondary scholarship and forgivable loan programs, and FAFSA outreach. Her agency is responsible for financial aid; helping North Carolina pay for education. The state’s three K12 Programs include the Opportunity Scholarship, the Disabilities Grant, and the Education Savings Account (ESA).

On a personal note, she lives in Wake Forest, North Carolina with my husband. Her daughter lives in Charlotte, and her son lives in Youngsville. Some of her other favorite places in North Carolina are the Biltmore Estate – and the city of Asheville in general – the Yadkin Valley, and Carolina Beach.

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