Collette Hart Richardson was born and raised in Miami, FL. She attended Liberty City Elementary, Holy Redeemer Catholic School, Madison Middle and Miami Central Sr High. Her post secondary studies were at Clark Atlanta University and Nova Southeastern University. She has a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education, a Masters Degree in Elementary Education and Certification in Educational Leadership. Collette has been in a leadership position for 21 years with 13 years as an Assistant Principal at Norwood Elementary. During her tenure, the school earned 7 consecutive “A’s” on the Florida School Grading System. She is a former District Supervisor for the Title 1 Program where she managed the first Satellite Parent Educational Resource Center, an outreach center for MDCPS parents bringing technology to hundreds of low income parents. She is a member of various service organizations including Delta Sigma Theta, Inc. and a breast cancer survivor. Collette’s hobbies include Chicago Stepping, singing, networking, traveling and swimming.
Q. What does being a mom mean to you?
Being a mom especially for me is one of the most rewarding opportunities that I have had. You see I was not fortunate to give birth but became a parent to a seven year old son. Teaching him to grow up and see the man he has become has been a joy…he is 29 years old, lives in Houston and is working and learning the craft of plumbing. He has also worked as a model and actor.
Q. Who was your biggest role model most growing up?
I think my mother, Lillie Bell Hart, was the biggest role model for me. She passed away when I was nineteen but I have embraced the years we had together and modeled my life after her . She was always slim, impeccably dressed a good teacher and mentor. She too is a graduate of Clark College and a lady of elegance. She carried herself with style and grace. I still hear glowing compliments from students whose lives she touched. One such man said to me my mother saw that he could not read. She took the time to personally tutor him and because of her help, he is a successfully retired contractor who has read multiple contracts through the years. It is my hope that my students feel the same about me.
Q. You are involved in so many organizations. How do you decide which ones to participate in?
I join organizations that give back to the community. I feel to whom much is given, much is required. Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and Kazah Court are examples of organizations who demonstrate their community service.
In addition, cancer awareness has always been an area with whom I donated my talents. Now that I am a survivor, I am even more passionate about supporting causes to find a cure for this disease.
Q. How did you discover that you had breast cancer?
While at my annual mammogram, I was asked whether I felt anything. I said,” I feel fine except for a little bump under my left breast.” That prompted further tests and subsequent surgery.
Q. What’s one thing that you would tell a mom that may be going through cancer or any other illness?
I would tell them to stay encouraged. Surround yourself with positive friends and family and know that with early detection the disease is survivable. Be vigilant, exercise, eat right, know your body and get your check ups. Know that all things are possible if you believe.
Q. Are you working on any other projects right now?
As I make plans to retire, I have embarked on a new business venture as an Independent Beauty Mary Kay Consultant. A portion of my sales will go to cancer research and awareness.