Dr. Crystal A. Kuykendall is considered one of the most dynamic individuals of our time. A critical thinker, analyst, motivator and mentor, Dr. Kuykendall has astounded audiences and individuals through the power of her observations and the warmth of her words. A highly sought after and savvy speaking sensation, she is an engaging educator, human relations expert, legal analyst/litigator, endearing author and loving mother.
Born in Chicago, Illinois with very humble beginnings, Dr. Kuykendall graduated from Hyde Park High School with 4 scholarships at the age of 16. She received her B.A. from Southern Illinois University (Carbondale Campus) as a Government Major. Through an Assistantship, she graduated from Montclair State University (Montclair, NJ) with a Master's Degree in Sociology. Through a Ford Fellowship, she received her Doctorate in Educational Administration from Atlanta University. Always seeking additional avenues for advocacy and service, Dr. Kuykendall received her Juris Doctorate (law degree) from Georgetown University Law Center in 1981. She was admitted to the Bar Association of the District of Columbia in 1988 after passing the Bar Exam on her first attempt.
On June 2, 2002, the President of Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon conferred upon Dr. Kuykendall the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa (the Honorary Doctorate), after she delivered the Commencement speech to the Master Degree candidates from the School of Education. The Honorary Doctorate was presented to recognize Dr. Kuykendall for "her leadership and public service and her unflagging belief in children and the parents and teachers who train them."
A former elementary and secondary school teacher, Dr. Kuykendall has also taught at Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. She is the former Executive Director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators . She has also served as the Director of Urban & Minority Relations for the National School Boards Association and the Director of the Citizens Training Institute of the National Committee for Citizens in Education . Appointed by U.S. President, Jimmy Carter to the National Advisory Council on Continuing Education , she served as Council Chairperson from 1979-1981. She was also chosen by the educators of Ebony Magazine as one of the "50 Leaders of the future" in 1979.
Dr. Kuykendall is truly a gifted and gracious public speaker. She has spoken on 4 continents (North America, Europe, Africa and Australia) and is considered by many to be one of the most powerful, dynamic and inspiring speakers in the world, giving over 100 speeches annually. Her audiences laugh, cry and experience an incredible array of emotions as she weaves her magic behind a microphone. Audiences connect instantly with her high energy, charm, charismatic delivery and moving messages. She not only develops effective leaders but she facilitates self-analysis and inspires personal and organizational change, growth and powerful results. It doesn't matter who she addresses -- cafeteria workers or CEOs, educators or entrepreneurs, private or public employees, youth or senior citizens -- the results are the same and she receives thundering standing ovations wherever she goes. Her speeches reflect her own unique background replete with personal victories and many professional responsibilities.
Dr. Kuykendall has been exemplary in leadership, public service and corporate success. She has served on the Board of Directors of Health Power, Inc. She also served on the Advisory Board of the Congressional National Youth Leadership Conference , the Education Task Force of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Social Change, the National Youth Leadership Conference and the National Education Task Force. Most recently she served on the Board of Directors of the Maryland Mentoring Partnerships and the Board of Directors of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Greater Chesapeake Maryland . Currently, she serves as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Henry C. Gregory III Family Life Center Foundation of Washington, DC.
In over 25 years of experience and service delivery, she has received over 300 plaques, awards, citations, certificates and "Keys to the City". She has also received numerous tributes and commendations for her efficacy in facilitating personal and professional empowerment, problem resolution and organizational growth.
Author of Developing Leadership for Parent/Citizen Groups in 1976, Dr. Kuykendall also authored Improving Black Student Achievement through Improving Self Image in 1987 and a motivational calendar for parents, You and Yours: Making the Most of this School Year (1987 and 1989). Her well lauded book, From Rage to Hope: Strategies for Reclaiming Black and Hispanic Students was first published in 1992. In May 2004, the second edition of this "timeless treasure" and national bestseller was published. Her unique character development guide and planner , Dreaming of a P.H.A.T. Century, continues to be extolled by winners of all ages.
In 1989, Dr. Kuykendall incorporated her company, Kreative and Innovative Resources for Kids (K.I.R.K.). Through the company she has provided long term technical assistance and consulting services to numerous national and international clients. She is also Adjunct Faculty at Strayer University in Washington, DC Campus.
Mother of 3 daughters and a son, Dr. Kuykendall has also been a H.O.S.T.S. Mentor (Help One Student to Succeed) since 1996 and continues to be a school and church volunteer. One of her daughters, Rasheki M. Kuykendall Walker, received the 2005-2006 Milken Family Foundation National Educator of the year Award.