Ketica Guter | Principal | KIPP DC Valor Academy
We are excited to spotlight Ketica Guter, the principal of KIPP DC Valor Academy! Originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, she earned her bachelor’s degree in history and African American studies from Northwestern University. She also obtained her master’s degrees from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Ketica draws inspiration from her personal hero, her grandfather, who played a pivotal role in her life and encouraged her to pursue education. Upon graduation, Ketica’s journey in shaping young minds began with her participation in Teach for America, where she gained invaluable experience in the classroom. This hands-on teaching experience eventually paved the way for her transition into leadership positions within the field of education. In 2018, she became an integral part of the KIPP DC community, initially assuming roles as an interim principal, principal in residence, and vice principal. Her dedication and exceptional leadership skills led her to her current position as the principal of Valor Academy. Together with her devoted team, Ketica is making a remarkable difference in the lives of over 300 students.
What thrills you about being a principal?
“What excites me the most about being a principal is the opportunity to expand my impact. When I was an elementary teacher, my focus was on a class of 28 to 30 students. As I transitioned to high school, I was able to connect with around 100 students throughout the day. Now, as a principal, I have the privilege of celebrating the growth and achievements of students in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade. It’s incredibly thrilling to cheer them on as they navigate their educational journey and work towards their college or career aspirations. The scope of this role allows me to make a meaningful difference in the lives of a larger number of students, and it’s so exciting.”
What excites you about this school year?
“This school year at Valor Academy has been filled with so much excitement. We have celebrated students for their academic growth through MAP breakfasts and medals. Students have taken what they have learned inside of the classroom outside of the classroom through academic field trips. During PARCC testing, we had a PARCC-chella theme, encouraging students to be “top performing artists.” Our upcoming PARCC-chella family reunion will also celebrate their achievements. We also have awards ceremonies, 8th grade prom and promotion, and end-of-year trips to New York City, Hershey Park, and King’s Dominion for different grade levels. It’s incredible to see our students working so hard and having so much to look forward to.”
What are your favorite characteristics of students and families of Valor Academy?
“One of the aspects I truly cherish about the students and families of Valor Academy is the overwhelming love and support we receive from them. I also appreciate the feedback they provide. Recognizing that we are partners in this educational journey, their input is invaluable in shaping our approach. It’s not about imposing a singular perspective; it’s about collaboration and understanding. Through numerous conversations with family members, I have witnessed their acknowledgement of the work we do, while also expressing their commitment to working alongside us. This mutual respect and shared responsibility creates a strong foundation for our success.”
We proudly recognize Ketica Guter as May’s School Leader spotlight. With her dedication, she is committed to providing invaluable opportunities that prepare our students to excel in high school and beyond.