Founders Day Celebration 2024


Invest in KDP's Future

In honor of Founders Day, we have a fundraising goal of $50,000. Your generous donation will help KDP to champion teachers and teaching excellence in America’s largest and most prestigious Honor Society in Education, fund classroom grants, provide scholarships, support chapters, and more.

Gifts are being matched up to $27, 725, so your donation goes twice as far. Additionally, we have exclusive thank you gifts of a KDP sticker and belt bag for donations of $41 or more. Donate now before the match and gifts run out!

Please direct questions to Sam Procento at 317-829-1556 or  



KDP Founders Day Celebration 2024 is Generously Sponsored by


Honoring KDP Legacy Members



Our Legacy members, those who have dedicated 15 or more years to KDP, embody the spirit of excellence. We are honored to share inspiring stories from some of them by showcasing their remarkable teaching journeys and the impact that KDP has had on their lives. Read Legacy Stories


KDP Founder's Day Celebration 2024


Founded on March 8, 1911, by a group of educators at the University of Illinois as an inclusive organization, KDP was dedicated to encouraging and recognizing that women and people of color are excellent educators whereas other national honor societies were only recognizing male educators.

An exciting addition to the 2024 campaign was a live, virtual Founders Day Celebration for KDP members and stakeholders on March 8, 2024, from 1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m. ET via Zoom.

We honored three champions of KDP and education with KDP’s highest recognition: the Founders Awards. KDP’s highest chapter recognition, the Florence B. Stratemeyer Award for Chapter Excellence (Ace of the ACE Award) was awarded in November to the Xi Psi Chapter at Fitchburg State University and their leaders shared about their award-winning service projects and community impact. 


Meet the Award Honorees


Dr. Pamela Kramer Ertel

Professor, Middle Tennessee State University

2024 Dr. William C. Bagley Award for Leadership Excellence

Dr. Pamela Kramer Ertel earned a B.A. in Elementary Education from Marian University in Indianapolis, an M.A. in Early Childhood Education from Kean University (NJ), and an EdD in Elementary Education from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Dr. Kramer Ertel started her career as an elementary classroom teacher for nine years in New Jersey. After transitioning to higher education, she worked to achieve the rank of full professor at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania (ESU) where she was a faculty member in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education for 18 years. She then served as the Dean of the College of Education at ESU for approximately seven years. She currently holds the rank of Professor at Middle Tennessee State University where she is the Early Childhood Program Coordinator.

Dr. Kramer Ertel served as Vice President, President-Elect, President, and Past President of Kappa Delta Pi from 2004–2012. She also served as the Chapter Counselor of the Gamma Xi Chapter of KDP at East Stroudsburg University for nearly 17 years. Dr. Kramer Ertel remains actively involved in KDP as a member of the Council of Past Presidents. In 2021, she was inducted as a member of the Eleanor Roosevelt Chapter of KDP, whose purpose is to honor individuals who have made significant and longtime contributions of service to KDP and demonstrated a commitment to its ideals and excellence in teaching.

Teacher education is Dr. Kramer Ertel’s passion, and her research interests include trauma-informed practices, children’s mental health, classroom management, and best practices in teacher preparation. She has authored two editions of a KDP-published book, The ABC's of Classroom Management (get 30% off with promo code WH74CVKHT), as well as numerous articles and presentations related to teacher education issues. She has been trained as a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner and conducts parent workshops on this trauma-related topic. She also helped to develop and implement an alternative teacher licensure program at Middle Tennessee State University. After many years in the profession, Dr. Kramer Ertel remains committed to excellence in education and the KDP mission of inspiring and equipping teachers to thrive.

About the Dr. William C. Bagley Award for Leadership Excellence

This award is given to an individual who has demonstrated a sustained effort in leadership excellence within Kappa Delta Pi and the education profession at the local, national, and/or global level. Dr. William C. Bagley (1874–1946) is the founder of KDP. He was committed to growth and strengthening of KDP throughout his life. He also established the University of Illinois’ School of Education, focusing his career on educating teachers and developing curriculum for the education of teachers.

Dr. Jennifer L. Martin

Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Springfield

2024 Dr. Truman L. Kelley Award for Scholarship Excellence

Dr. Jennifer L. Martin is an associate professor of teacher education at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Martin worked in public education for 17 years, 15 of those as the department chair of English at an urban alternative high school for students labeled at-risk for school failure in metropolitan Detroit. At the alternative school, Dr. Martin created many service-leaning and experiential learning opportunities for students, including launching a literary magazine that was recognized by NCTE (the National Council for Teachers of English).

Dr. Martin’s research investigates theory and practice in education through the critical intersectional lenses of race, class, gender, and sexuality. Dr. Martin has co-written and edited nine books, numerous book chapters and peer reviewed articles. She has been the editor in chief of the Journal of Urban Learning, Teaching, and Research (JULTR) since 2018, which is dedicated to mentoring novice writers and graduate students as well as showcasing the work of prominent scholars in urban education. Under Dr. Martin’s leadership, JULTR has evolved to an online and open access format. She is also the editor of Racial Battle Fatigue: Insights from the Front Lines of Social Justice Advocacy (recipient of the 2016 AERA Division B’s Outstanding Book Recognition Award). She is the 2019 recipient of the Paula Silver Case Award from the Journal of Cases in Educational Leadership for her co-authored piece, “The Bathroom Case: Creating a Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Non-conforming Students.” Her most recent co-authored book is: Mentoring the Mentor: Celebrating the Intersection of Learning Together, A Reciprocal Journey (co-authored with former student Jennifer N. Brooks). In 2021, she was awarded the Burks Oakley II Distinguished Online Teaching Award (UIS). Dr. Martin was selected for the 2022–2023 cohort for the University of Illinois systemwide Public Voices Fellowship. She was named University Scholar at UIS for the 2022 – 2023 academic year, the University of Illinois system’s highest honor. 

In addition to scholarly writing, Dr. Martin is committed to writing for practitioners. Along with KDP members Dr Julie Hoffman and Leana Malinowsky, Dr. Martin has been working with her undergraduate students to publish their original writing on literacy education for the KDP blog. She is currently taking a sabbatical semester where she is working with students at an alternative high school in Springfield, Illinois, on memoir writing. Follow her podcast eduCATE.

About the Dr. Truman L. Kelley Award for Scholarship Excellence

This award will be given to an individual who has demonstrated a sustained effort in scholarship excellence within Kappa Delta Pi and the education profession at the local, national, and/or global level. Dr. Truman L. Kelley (1884–1961) was instrumental in the founding of KDP. He was a noted scholar who made an impact on American education through his work in statistics and education. He also had great interest in the sciences and psychology.

Dr. Eva Kleinpeter

Volunteer and Retired Professor, Southern University and A&M College

2024 Dr. Thomas E. Musselman Award for Service Excellence

From the age of five, Dr. Eva Kleinpeter can remember her parents emphasizing the importance of education and hard work. Growing up poor in Lafayette Parish, Louisiana, Eva began her education at Mouton Switch, a two-room segregated schoolhouse. Walking miles from her home to get to school, she recalls the teachers giving everything to help the students read and write. The early investment from her parents and teachers, combined with her ambitious spirit, led Eva to attend seven universities and earn multiple degrees with 20 unique certification areas.

After St. Antoine elementary school, Eva attended Paul Breaux High School, the only Black school in Lafayette Parish, where students would be bussed from other areas. Attending college at University of Louisiana at Lafayette Public University, the only university in the area for one semester, Eva then got married and transferred to Southern University. Eva earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, as well as certifications in kindergarten education. She then earned two master’s degrees from Southern University, one in elementary education and one in mass communications. Eva graduated with a PhD from Kansas State University in curriculum and instruction, reading, with a minor in multicultural education and nursery school. While completing her PhD, Eva worked in the associate dean’s office, serving as a mentor to other doctoral candidates. She also worked in the reading lab in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and supervised student teachers. Eva retired after working 45 plus years from primary to the graduate level.

Within her work in education, Eva improved the way students learned advanced math, computer science, and cursive writing. By utilizing an integrative learning approach, Eva taught students skills based on experiences they would encounter in their everyday lives.

“Primary children have been teaching me for more than a half of a century,” said Eva. “That is why many adults make so many positive remarks about their work and about the work that I am trying to do in this society. We all need to grow and help make this a great and better world for each and every one of us, individually and collectively.”

Eva’s classroom quickly became a model for many. Her work in teaching second-grade students computer science caught the attention of other educators who hoped to explore similar techniques. After purchasing her first computer with her own money, both Exxon and IBM donated a computer so her elementary students could learn to solve simple computer problems in BASIC, a programing language.

In addition to math and computer science, Eva developed revolutionary changes in teaching students writing techniques. She found that even adults at the CEO level did not retain the writing skills they were taught as elementary students. She noticed that teaching students to write letters in isolation proved too complicated and boring in the learning process, so she began teaching second graders to write simple letters and words that incorporated higher levels of letter formation and usage, as well as critical thinking and so much more. Eva refined her teaching method and discovered that she could teach 36 basic integrated skills, rather than 132 symbols and isolated skills. Over time, her students helped her reduce the number to around 20. With the success of this method, Eva created the "Writing Made Easy System," a patented workbook that teaches students the fundamentals of writing skills in 10- to 15-minute sessions. With the workbook, students can master the fundamental skills of writing in less than two weeks.

In addition to the published writing tablet, she is the author of several children’s books: Ten Little Squirrels Playing in the Big Tall Oak Tree, The Adventures of Ten Little Squirrels, and Little Squirrels, Little Squirrels, What are You Doing? 

In her mission to improve education and writing skills, Eva has donated thousands of her tablets and school supplies to students around the country. However, Eva’s commitment to philanthropy does not stop there. Eva continues to give back by volunteering at the public school near her home, in churches, libraries and other education centers. Eva supports multiple organizations through donations, such as the Dr. Eva Kleinpeter Scholarship at KDP as well as a scholarship and two endowed professorships at Southern University.

About the Dr. Thomas E. Musselman Award for Service Excellence

This award will be given to an individual who has demonstrated a sustained effort in service excellence within Kappa Delta Pi and the education profession at the local, national, and/or global level. Dr. Thomas E. Musselman (1887–1976) was president of the Illinois Education Club at the time the club was exploring the possibility of merging with other clubs on a national level. He helped ensure that the ideals of coeducational membership and scholarship as an educator without regard to any racial, religious, or other restrictions were upheld. By adhering to these ideals, the club did not merge with other fraternities, but became a national honorary education society, Kappa Delta Pi. Dr. Musselman went on to become an educator, organizer, businessman, and naturalist during his lifetime.

Xi Psi Chapter

Fitchburg State University 

2023 Florence B. Stratemeyer Award for Chapter Excellence

Dr. Vincent Mara founded our chapter in 1978. In 2000, Dr. Laurie DeRosa joined the Education Department and was asked to become a Chapter Counselor and given “the box in the corner.” Due to the support and extensive training provided by KDP Headquarters, Dr. DeRosa was able to revitalize Fitchburg State’s Chapter. It was at our first Convo in 2003 when the Xi Psi Chapter was recognized with an award for a Literacy Event and Laurie met other Chapter Counselors from around the country. During this time, she truly realized how valuable KDP membership could be not only for her academic scholarship, but also for our college students’ professional development. This realization has been what has guided our chapter since this monumental moment for Dr. Laurie DeRosa. When I, Dr. Nancy Murray, joined Laurie in Spring of 2008, her experiences which shaped her commitment to KDP were passed down to me and I too have been able to realize how valuable KDP is for teacher candidates at all levels of their career. The Xi Psi Chapter has always led with the passion of a true educator. As counselors and educators, we are driven by the positive impact and guidance we can provide our students in order to make a difference. Helping our teacher candidates to grow and develop into leaders that can make a difference each and every day with their students is the underlying motivation. Having had so many experiences with our KDP members and co-counselors, I know that KDP truly has the ability to impact teachers, leaders, and students across the world.

In Fall 2019, Dr. Karen DeAngelis joined the Xi Psi Chapter as a co-counselor. Karen has the same passion and commitment to education that Laurie had in 2000. Having counselors that believe in the ideals of KDP creates an environment where members thrive. We, as counselors, are amazed by the dedication and passion our executive board has, and by their creative ideas to fundraise, recruit, and retain members. They are actually the leaders of KDP and the ones that have led us to receiving 10 consecutive Ace Awards since 2005.

Being a part of the KDP United Nations Task Force, our chapter has broadened our commitment to the ideals of KDP to include the important task of increasing awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals within our nation. As Laurie realized the immense value of having a KDP membership in 2003, we are now able to expand on the academic scholarships and college students’ and teachers’ professional development across our nation.

About the Florence B. Stratemeyer Award for Chapter Excellence

Formerly named the Ace of ACE Award for the top Achieving Chapter Excellence (ACE) Award, the Dr. Florence B. Stratemeyer Award for Chapter Excellence recognizes the highest-ranking chapter of all ACE award recipients each biennium. Dr. Florence B. Stratemeyer (1900-1980) served as KDP’s first executive vice president from 1928-1942. Her commitment to Kappa Delta Pi was exemplified through her focus on developing chapter activities, workshops, and discussion groups. The top chapter out of all 675 chapters is determined based on their programming, recruitment, and membership practices, and a variety of administrative tasks.


Meet the Presenters


Dr. Misty Hathcock

KDP National Board President; Clinical Professor and Cato COED Alumni Engagement Director, UNC Charlotte

Dr. Misty Hathcock is a fifth-generation educator from Wadesboro, North Carolina, and a five-time graduate from UNC Charlotte. She received her BA in Intermediate Education, EdM in Instructional Systems Technology, MA in School Administration, CAS in Educational Leadership, and EdD in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction. For 11 years, Misty was an elementary/middle grades teacher, administrator, and beginning teacher coordinator in Anson County Schools. In 1998, Dr. Hathcock followed her passion for working with beginning teachers and became a faculty member of UNC Charlotte’s College of Education as the first full-time Director of the NC Teaching Fellows Program. Hathcock, a Clinical Professor in the Reading and Elementary Education Department, serves as Regional Director for the NC New Teacher Support Program, Director of Alumni Engagement, and student teaching supervisor for the Cato College of Education. Dr. Hathcock serves on several university boards in leadership roles such as President of the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association Past Presidents Council; Counselor for KDP, Honor Society in Education; and Treasurer for Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. For her work and service to schools, Hathcock is the recipient of the Bonnie Cone Lifetime Achievement Award and Distinguished Alumnus Award from the UNC Charlotte Alumni Association, Southeast Counselor of the Year by KDP, and the Public Service Award from the Southwest Education Alliance.

Tonja Eagan, MPA, CAE, CFRE, CMFC

KDP Chief Executive Officer

Tonja joined KDP in June 2020 as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to collaboratively lead KDP with the Board of Directors, members, and staff into a new era of teaching excellence. For over 25 years Tonja has successfully led national, statewide, and local-based nonprofit organizations in education, youth, and human services. She was one of the first 100 people in America to earn a master’s degree with a concentration in nonprofit management in the 90s. Other credentials include being a CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive), CAE (Certified Association Executive), and Certified Master Financial Coach (CMFC). She has received multiple leadership honors, including being named as a Forty Under 40 leader by the Indianapolis Business Journal and a Robert Skip Walsh Memorial Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters of America as an outstanding mentor and role model for staff. Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) has recognized Tonja with the Distinguished Liberal Arts Alumni Service Award, the Glen W. Irwin Experience Excellence Award for service beyond the call of duty, the Maynard K. Hine Medal as the highest IU alumni honor, and the Spirit of Philanthropy Award. Upon receiving a bachelor’s degree in 1990, Tonja founded the IUPUI Student Mentor Program, which became the nationally renowned Bepko Learning Center. Annually, the “Tonja Eagan Mentor Service Award” is granted to an outstanding faculty mentor. As a philanthropist, Tonja established an IUPUI Mentor Impact Endowment Fund with the IU Foundation to support student peer mentoring. As a former adjunct faculty member, Tonja taught undergraduate courses at IUPUI, Ivy Tech Community College, and Ball State University. In volunteer roles, Tonja serves as a member of the FBI Citizens Alumni Academy Impact 100 Women’s Philanthropy, and the Finance Committee of her HOA.

Lucijan Jović, MS ED

KDP UN Representative; Doctoral Student, Molloy University

Mr. Jović is an educator who teaches 8th-grade English & Writing as well as students in grades 9-12 with limited English proficiency. He is pursuing his doctorate in Educational Leadership & Administration at Molloy University with a focus on social justice and high-quality, equitable education for all learners. In addition, he serves as a collaborator at the Cognition and Learning Laboratory at Molloy University. In this role he works with his colleagues to conduct basic and applied research on the cognitive factors that influence cultural, developmental, and social perspectives in learning. Exploring theoretical issues in cognitive science and social psychology and their practical implications for the field of education are at the forefront of the lab's research. Lastly, Mr. Jović also serves as a KDP representative to the United Nations in New York City, meeting with delegates and leaders from across the globe.

About KDP’s United Nations Representatives

KDP has been affiliated with the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) since 2010. KDP has five United Nations Representatives who are advocates of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with a focus on Goal #4 Quality Education to “Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all." This aligns with KDP’s vision for quality, equitable education for all.

The specific responsibilities of the representatives include:

  • Raising awareness about key issues on the UN agenda.
  • Disseminating information and promoting issues of global concern.
  •  Designing and implementing public information activities and programs.
  • Collaborating with the UN Information Centers on advocacy campaigns or other promotional public activities.

Dr. Wendy Amato

Chief Academic Officer of K12 Coalition

Wendy Amato earned her Master’s and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Virginia. She holds an MBA from James Madison University in Strategies for Competitive Advantages in Complex Industries. She began teaching in 1991 at Universite Blaise Pascale in Clermont Ferrand, France, has served as a Middle School Administrator, and still teaches at UVA’s School of Education. Wendy is the Chief Academic Officer of K12 Coalition, parent company to Teaching Channel, iteach, Insight Education Group, and Lavinia Group.

Wendy supports educators with resources and tools that support student learning outcomes. She collaborates with education leaders, researchers, and presenters who share the mission of teaching for the greater good. Wendy has delivered teacher professional development workshops and student leadership workshops across the U.S. and internationally on five continents.

Wendy is a pickleball enthusiast who drinks a lot of coffee and lives with her husband in Staunton, Virginia.

KDP Founders Day Celebration 2024 is Generously Sponsored by K12 Coalition.

Joe Clemmer

KDP Manager of Member Experience

Joe joined KDP in 2016 and serves as the Manager of Member Experience for the Northeast and Community Colleges. In this role, Joe works directly with chapter leaders to develop programming, leadership training, and more. He also assists members in the northeast and community colleges as they prepare to enter the classroom. Joe grew up in Warsaw, Indiana, and then attended Purdue University and Ball State University, where he studied Sociology and History. In his off-time, Joe enjoys music production and audio engineering, as well as his two Corgis, Nova and Korra. Joe had far too many excellent educators to name just one, but he pays special thanks to his high school band teacher, Mickey Ratliff, and history teacher, David Hoffert. He also recognizes college professor Dr. Melinda Messineo as a great source of knowledge and mentorship. Joe is mindful of the critical role educators play in life and recognizes that we are all the product of an educational lineage far older than ourselves. He is proud to serve this noble tradition.