Those who are fortunate to have spent any amount of time with Dr. Angela Kidd Vinson can quickly attest to the fact that she is the epitome of strength, confidence, and courage, a quiet but powerful force. This week, we are honored to feature Dr. Vinson as another prominent African American who has greatly influenced our community and humbly served to make our school system better.
Born in Athens, Georgia to C.D. and Sarah Kidd, Dr. Vinson’s parents have always been a great source of inspiration. Dr. Vinson grew up watching her parents work hard, always providing for her and her brother, David. “We didn’t always get everything we wanted,” said Dr. Vinson, “but my parents made sure that we understood the value of working hard and that if we were to be successful at anything, we would have to work hard at it.”
Dr. Vinson’s mother inspired her love of books and writing by encouraging her, even from an early age, to join book clubs and keep a journal. Dr. Vinson attended Bryan Elementary until the building closed in 1970 due to integration. At that time, Dr. Vinson enrolled as a second grade student at Jefferson Elementary School and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1980.
Growing up, she always knew that she wanted to teach but didn’t start her college career in education. Having a love for writing, Dr. Vinson began her college career with a major in journalism because she envisioned herself becoming a news anchor. However, this dream was put on hold because Dr. Vinson was somewhat fearful and reluctant to be in the spotlight interviewing individuals suffering from tragedy. At that point, she changed her major to education, fulfilling her desire to show love and compassion to students, just as many of her role models had shown her throughout her educational career. She continued her education, receiving degrees from the University of Georgia, Piedmont College, and earning her doctorate from Argosy University in 2008.
Dr. Vinson has never lost her love for teaching. Even when she left the classroom to become an administrator, Dr. Vinson pursued the opportunity to teach at the college level, which was a rewarding experience. Dr. Vinson states, “I have learned so much from the students that I had the pleasure of having in class. I only hope that they learned something from me.”
Having previously taught in Lincoln County Schools, Rome City Schools, and Clarke County Schools, Dr. Vinson has worked in Jefferson City Schools since 1993, as a teacher and system-level administrator. Regardless of her role, Dr. Angela Kidd Vinson has always strived for excellence in performing her job. She is a very conscientious, hard-working individual who has always focused on doing what is best for students. As stated by Dr. John Jackson, “There was a quiet confidence about Angela that spoke loudly. She walked softly; however, held on strongly, very strongly, to her convictions. Angela was so good at her job, she could make me look good. Believe me, that was not easy to do.”
In addition to her work at Jefferson City Schools, family has always been important to Dr. Vinson. She has one son, Brandon, who also graduated from Jefferson High School in 2004 and is currently employed as a teacher and coach. Dr. Vinson enjoys spending time with her son, his wife, and being Glam’ma to her two beautiful granddaughters. In addition, her rambunctious Yorkie, named Bo, provides much entertainment and enjoyment.
Dr. Angela Kidd Vinson is a remarkable, young lady who has faced her life’s challenges with grace, poise, and dignity. Recently overcoming a serious health issue, Dr. Vinson acknowledges how she has found purpose in her pain. She describes how these circumstances have led her to reach back to a childhood dream and finally put away her fears so that she can courageously use her personal experiences to inspire and encourage others who are facing difficulties in their own lives.
As a result of facing her fears, Dr. Vinson has accomplished a lifelong dream by publishing her first children’s book, I Learned the Most from R.J., a story she wrote over 20 years ago for a children’s literature class assignment. Dr. Vinson has held on to the belief that one day someone would find value in the motivational message of her book and would want to publish it. That dream became a reality in 2020 when Dr. Vinson’s fight for her health helped her to realize that she no longer had to allow her fears to continue putting her dream of writing on hold. As part of her healing process, Dr. Vinson reached back on the shelf and had the courage to pursue her dream of becoming “Dr. Annie May”.
Starting each day with a grateful heart, loving yourself, doing things you are passionate about, working hard, and never giving up on your dreams is sound advice that Dr. Angela Kidd Vinson lives by on a daily basis. One of Dr. Vinson’s most cherished quotes from one of her favorite authors, Maya Angelou, is “become so confident in who you are that no one’s opinion, rejection, or behavior can rock you. You alone are enough…you have nothing to prove to anybody!” Dr. Vinson’s advice to students is have courage - the courage to believe in yourself, see your worth, face your fears, and move forward. She urges young people and adults alike to “be or do whatever you feel in your heart that you were meant to do regardless of what others may think or say - it just takes courage to believe in yourself.”
Dr. Angela Kidd Vinson’s story is an inspirational one that will touch many lives for years to come as a result of her finding the courage to overcome her fears.