Liberty-Eylau Independent School District named Dr. Ceretha Brown-Levingston deputy superintendent in 2020.
"The reason I do what I do is I feel every child has a right, a civil liberty to a quality education," Ceretha said in July. "I grew up in Liberty-Eylau. For a lot of our students where I taught and where I am now an administrator, about 85% of our students are economically disadvantaged and education will be the way for a better life for them." Ceretha began teaching at an early age.
"I was interested in education even as a little girl in elementary school. I can remember during the summers playing school with my friends on my front porch. I was always the teacher," she said.
Her leadership qualities came naturally as the eldest of four siblings. Their mother, Emma Strong, and stepfather worked for and retired from Wadley Regional Medical Center — her mother in housekeeping and stepfather in laundry. Their father was the late James E. Strong.
Growing up, Ceretha had rich experiences reveling in books.
"Because I come from what I would consider a poor family — we had food, but not extra money for Scholastic book orders. I loved to read and my mom knew that and she would order one book. I always used to say when I grew up and I had kids, I would buy them books."
She kept her word while raising her own children, daughter Kayla and son Kameron.
Ceretha was a Top 10 graduate of L-E High School in 1987 and a 1992 Cum Laude graduate of then-East Texas State University-Texarkana with a bachelor's degree in elementary education with a concentration in reading. She has always promoted the importance and benefits of reading.
"To me, reading opens up a whole world to a person. And what I mean by that is you can go places you've never been, you can learn about things you may not have access, to and I guess that is why I took so many reading classes in college," she said.
After eight years as a classroom teacher, Ceretha was awarded a scholarship to pursue her doctorate at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
"Once I started in my doctoral program, I was surrounded by a lot of administrators in education and that is when my goal started changing by moving from teaching to the administrative side of things," she said. Her first job as an administrator was as an elementary coordinator and later an assistant superintendent.
In Ceretha's new role as deputy superintendent, she oversees curriculum and instruction and the special education departments, human resources, career and technology, the district's federal and state programs and accountability.
"I am just grateful and thankful to be able to be a part of the Leopard family, and being able to serve in the capacity that I do, and being a part of the legacy of success at L-E."