Dr. Genevieve Shepherd, a longtime educator who helped forge a life of learning among Black youth at Tom Bradley Environmental Science and Humanities Charter Magnet in Leimert Park, died recently at age 84.
Shepherd actually began her teaching career as a young girl in heading an imaginary school with her friends. She is fondly remembered for saying as a 5-year-old: “I’m the teacher and if you don’t let me teach, I’m going home.” At the time, she would practice her imaginary teaching skills on 3- and 4-year- olds, but by the age of 19 she was informed by a school counselor that a teaching career was wrong for her. But one day at Los Angeles City College, however, Shepherd saw a sign that said “just watch and see.” That was the beginning of a legendary career in education.
Shepherd, a Los Angeles native, had a dynamic message for her young charges. She inspired them to take on learning as a continual part of their lives or, as she would often say “go MAD” (Make a Difference) in their community and abroad. Although an educator, Shepherd’s lesson plans and class units would often lend themselves to a motivational experience in challenging her students to reach their fullest academic potential. She was particularly effective in working with high school students to increase their SAT scores. Her motto was: “Anythinig a mind can conceive, and then can believe, can be achieved.”
Shepherd was a member of Bethlehem Temple Church where served as Sunday school superintendent and corporate secretary. She was the vice president of the Los Angeles Our Authors Study Club, a member of the Council of Black Administrators, a member of the National Education Association, and served on the board of the National Association of University Women. An honorary member of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa, Shepherd also served as board chairperson of the YWCA Metro Los Angeles-28th Street/Crenshaw branch.
Shepherd held a Ph.D. from Golden State University, a Master of Science degree from Pepperdine University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Cal State Los Angeles.