The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

The Student News Site of Paducah Tilghman High School

The Tilghman Bell

Get a Little on Chief Equity Officer, Shonda Hollowell


Shonda Hollowell is the district’s chief equity officer. She analyzes data and statistics within the school system to inform and advise decisions relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging issues. She is the leader and organizer for the Student Equity Advisory Council, African American Leadership Club, and the Black Coal and Roses Society.

Q: What inspired you to take the position that you have here?

A: It was new to the district, so it’s the first of its kind. With me having the experience coming from California, with equity and this type of work, I felt like it would be a good fit for me.

Q: Why did you choose Paducah?

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A: This is home, Paducah’s home! Being in California for 25 years, my kids all grown up, and my momma still being here. With a lot of prayer, I knew it was just time to come home.

Q: Who is someone that inspires you and why?

A: (She points at two photos next to her desk). You’re looking at two pictures, right next to you. The one closest to the door is me and Ruby Bridges. In California, I was educator of the year, so I got to go on a couple of speaker circuits and then I had an opportunity to meet her, and it was like meeting an auntie. For what she did, the barriers that she broke, and the reality of what she had to endure as an eight-year-old little girl are definitely a huge inspiration to me. The other picture is Dr. Bernice King, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter and having the opportunity to meet her and listen to her, her voice resonated with her dad, and it was just a reminder for not only this work but for me personally to remember my why in education and there’s something always to fight for with the rights of others and for the rights of people. On a personal level, my inspiration would be my aunt Becky, I probably am who I am because of her. If I could sum up her teaching in a few words, it would be grace and integrity.

Q: What are some personal hobbies or pastimes of yours outside of work?

A: I love to read; I love different genres, right now as a matter of fact, I’m a huge fan of Angie Thomas. She wrote The Hate You Give, and I didn’t know that she is now doing children’s novels, so this is actually a children’s book by Angie Thomas. I love autobiographies, documentaries, and self-help, I do a lot of Christian authors, Joyce Meyer is one of my favorites. I like to scrapbook, it is a very expensive habit, but I love it and it’s cathartic. I believe pictures tell stories. I love pictures. I also still like to bowl, skate, and line dance.

Q: If you could change one thing about Paducah as a whole, what would it be?

A: If I could change one thing, I would say the unity. While we are progressing, the work were doing across the city, there’s still a lot of work to do. I’m hoping we can get to the point where we can be 100% different and still be unified. I know its cliché when people say “world peace” but I believe it’s possible if we all think about people in terms of humanity. I don’t believe it’s a difficult feat, but I think it would take time and us all having a seat at the table.

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About the Contributor
Ellie Farley, Staff Writer
Ellie is a junior at Paducah Tilghman. She is the social media/communications manager for the Student Equity Advisory Council (SEAC), as well as a member of Concert Choir, Concordia, and Interact Club. She is also a Tilghman Student Ambassador and a Student Representative for the Family Resource Youth Services Center (FRYSC) Board. She enjoys spending time with her friends, iced chai, and working at MAKE Paducah.

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