Peggy Jo Hereford McKenzie was born March 4, 1933, in Waxahachie, Texas, to Henry and Edna Washington Hereford. She passed from this life on January 4, 2014. Viewing will be Tuesday, January 7, 2014 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church, 809 Harding Street. Services will be held Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 11:00 am at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church with Dr. Robert M. Castle, Pastor, Officiating.
Her family moved to Wichita Falls in 1939. She accepted Christ at the age of six at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of her granduncle, the late Rev. J.H. Washington.
She was a pioneer, a game-changer, educator, humanitarian devoted Christian and caring mother.
Peggy attended Booker T. Washington grades 2nd through 12th and graduated with honors in 1950. In school she was a leader and participant in many extracurricular activities. She is remembered for being the first female Drum Major of the B.T.W. Leopard Band. She graduated from Midwestern State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education and a Master of Education degree. Her higher education also included post-graduate work at the University of North Texas in pursuit of a doctorate degree.
At a very early age she wanted to be a teacher. Her professional career as an educator and administrator spanned more than 34 years. She believed that an education unlocks life’s treasures.
In the mid-1960s, she was at the forefront of integration in Wichita Falls. When school administrators, business leaders, upset parents and students realized there was no way to get around integration, Peggy McKenzie, as a faculty member, had already started blurring the line of segregation in the Wichita Falls Independent School District (WFISD). Schools were integrated in 1969; however in 1965, she was already known as a “Cross-Over” teacher. She was the first black faculty member at Sheppard Elementary. She quickly gained acceptance and respect as a science teacher, and year after year her students were known for winning Sweepstakes at science fairs. Her success as a teacher of science followed her to Fain Elementary in 1968, where she was the first black faculty member to walk the halls of an all-white school.
Her career continued as a science teacher in secondary education at Hirschi Junior High and Zundelowitz Junior High Schools. In 1972, she became the first black Dean of Girls at Wichita Falls High School where she served for four years before being named the first black female principal in the WFISD. She spent 13 years as principal of Austin Elementary and 12 years as the principal of Sam Houston Elementary School before retiring in 2000.
Throughout her career, Peggy was active in many professional organizations. She was the Past-President of the Wichita Falls Association for Childhood Education; District Treasurer of the National Association of Elementary Principals; Past-President of the American Council on Education; Past-President of Wichita Falls Education Association; and Past Local President of Texas State Teachers Association (TSTA). She served on the District Executive Board of TSTA and was a member of numerous other organizations, including the Association of Texas Professional Educators; American Association of School Principals; the Texas Parent Teacher Association; Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association; National Education Association; National Association of Secondary Principals; Texas Association of Secondary Principals; Phi Delta Kappa; Delta Kappa Gamma; and Kappa Delta Pi.
Her drive and desire to make a difference was evident in her community work as well. When lack of financial support threatened to close the East Branch YMCA, she joined forces with the likes of Eural Davis, Mrs. Josie Roberts, Dr. C. B. Fuller, Dr. F. D. Leffall, Otis Polk Sr. and others to save Eastside’s iconic institution. It was the only place on the city’s eastside to offer youth a nice, safe place to learn to swim, to interact in sports and other activities and to learn values. Many times her fundraising efforts exceeded goals, earning her recognition as a “Quota Buster”.
Peggy also participated in and held leadership positions in many civic organizations including Girl Scouts of America; Metropolitan YMCA; East Branch YMCA; Wichita Falls Chapter American Cancer Society; American Heart Association; Federated Women’s Club; United Way; Wichita Falls Human Relations Commission and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She was a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
After retirement Peggy dedicated her time to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church under the pastoral leadership of Dr. Robert M. Castle where she was a member for more than 75 years. She was the Sunday School Superintendent; First Vice-President of Senior Auxiliary One; and Director of Education and Announcement Clerk. She served in the Singles Ministry and on the Church Anniversary Committee. On the state level she served as President of the Progressive West Texas Missionary District Association’s Senior Mission One Auxiliary and Third Vice-President for Senior Mission One Auxiliary of the Missionary Baptist General Convention of Texas.
Peggy leaves to cherish her memory devoted children Ricky Bogan, Cynthia (Maynard) Hawkins, Martha Iglehart and Clyde (Jacque) McKenzie; grandchildren Rene Bogan, Adriane Brown, Chauncey (Rachel) Taylor, Chasity Taylor and Jazmyne McKenzie; great-grandchildren Angelica Hill (deceased), Madyson Horton and Riley Taylor; nephew Leon Hereford, a host of cousins and devoted friends.