School of Education Welcomes Educational Leader Nkenge A. Bergan ’95 as 2023 Convocation Speaker

Syracuse University School of Education is pleased to announce that Nkenge A. Bergan ’95, Board of Visitors member and an expert in educational leadership and school climate training, will address graduates at its 2023 Convocation Ceremony on May 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the Schine Student Center Goldstein Auditorium.

Nkenge Bergan headshotNamed to the School of Education Board of Visitors in August 2021, Bergan became Associate Vice President for Student Development Services of Kalamazoo Valley (MI) Community College in September 2021. She was previously Director of Student Services at Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), where she served 13,000 students and their families for more than 10 years.

At KPS, Bergan led a team of behavior specialists, culture/climate coaches, and campus safety professionals and was awarded a $1 million grant to establish a Social Emotional Learning Professional Development Center. She created KPS’s “Culturally Responsive Education” professional development program, was a member of the Equity Task Force, and as an Adverse Childhood Experiences master trainer, she helped plan a community trauma summit to seek “to eliminate policies, practices, and procedures that may be creating more trauma” in students KPS serves and the greater Kalamazoo community.

“As an educational leader and trainer, Nkenge challenges and empowers stakeholders to seek intentional solutions and interventions to strengthen their learning communities. As an advocate for student success, she ensures that every student has equitable access to tools, supports, and opportunities to learn,” says Dean Kelly Chandler-Olcott. “The passion she brings to these dual strengths, as well as her journey from special education teacher to higher education administrator, will inspire our graduates to challenge themselves as they begin their careers.”

Bergan graduated from the School of Education in 1995 with a B.S. in Inclusive Elementary Education. She earned a master’s degree in educational leadership and administration from Western Michigan University and a certificate in education from Grand Valley State University in Michigan.

Before her KPS leadership position, Bergan taught special education at Douglass Byrd Senior High School in Fayetteville, NC, where she also coached freshman girls’ basketball and volleyball. From 1999 to 2011, she served as building principal in elementary and middle schools advocating for students in urban and suburban communities. In 2010, Bergan was awarded the Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association Region 4 Principal of the Year.