Karla Kennedy, Ph.D. taught journalism and advised student media in Miami-Dade County Public Schools for 17 years. She’s advised and published yearbooks and newspapers at Palm Springs Middle School, North Miami Senior High, and Miami Norland Senior High. She was one of the first television production teachers in MDCPS and established the Pioneer Communications Bureau (PCB) at North Miami Senior High which ran a small network of programs including news and talk shows.
Kennedy has a rich history in scholastic journalism. In fact, she was the editor of her high school newspaper and worked on the yearbook at Miami Northwestern Senior High. Her love and passion for student voice happened in middle school when she became intrigued with the First Amendment, particularly the protected right to free speech.
In 2000, she met Dr. Lillian Kopenhaver, Florida International University Dean Emeritus, as a student in the Student Media Advising course. The course was packed with viable strategies and information that could be applied in the classroom at any time. What she learned in that first course, would have an everlasting effect, and changed and shaped her trajectory as a teacher, student media adviser, and scholar.
Kennedy went on to complete her master’s degree in Student Media Advising from FIU and obtain a Ph.D. in Mass Communication from the University of Florida. Her research focused on First Amendment court cases involving student speech. Her dissertation dealt with the infamous Supreme Court case, Morse v. Frederick (Bong HiTs 4 Jesus) and its effect(s) on society’s perspective of student voice.
In 2012, she moved to Portland Oregon and worked for the University of Oregon as the inaugural Scholastic Journalism Outreach Coordinator. In that role, she also served as the Executive Director of the Northwest Scholastic Press Association and organized the state’s annual event, Fall Press Day.
She has been the guest speaker and panelists at many events and facilitated and presented at national, regional, and local events, conferences, and workshops. She was awarded the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Award from the University of Oregon and was honored as the Morty Schaap Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year award from the Florida Scholastic Press Association.