Dr. Dee Dupree Bennett, an Assistant Professor of Instructional Leadership and Administration at Troy University’s Phenix City Campus and co-founder of SHORT the Squirrel Literacy Initiative, has been named to the 2022 Class of Women Who Shape the State of Alabama by This is Alabama.
For the past eight years, This is Alabama has honored women from various professions who are shaping the State of Alabama in an effort to make their communities better places to live. This year’s class was honored at a luncheon on March 3 at The Club in Birmingham. The event featured Alabama Poet Laureate Ashley M. Jones, the youngest person to hold the title, as the keynote speaker.
“I have been overwhelmed by the support and congratulations after being name one of the 2022 Women Who Shape the State,” Bennett said. “This honor truly represents all of the people who have mentored me over the years. I was excited to receive the honor but understand the responsibility of continuing to make a difference in the lives of others every day.”
Bennett earned her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education and her master’s degree in School Psychometry from Troy University. After serving as a school administrator for the past 17 years, Bennett completed her doctorate in Educational Leadership with an emphasis on virtual schools from Columbus State University.
“I first met Dr. Dee Bennett when we were both independent school heads,” said Dr. Kerry Palmer, Dean of TROY’s College of Education. “She was then, and is now, one of the most dynamic women I have ever known. Her enthusiasm is contagious, and her belief in others is inspiring. All of us in the College of Education congratulate Dr. Bennett on this outstanding honor.”
Dr. Dionne Rosser-Mims, Vice Chancellor of TROY’s Phenix City Campus, said this recognition of Bennett is well deserved.
“I am very proud of Dr. Dee Bennet who is truly deserving of this recognition,” Dr. Rosser-Mims said. “She strives for excellence in all of her endeavors and has demonstrated that anything is possible when vision, purpose, and passion intersect with the desire to serve others.”
In 2020, Bennett and fellow TROY alumna Monica Anderson Young founded SHORT the Squirrel, a nonprofit literacy project aimed at the state’s children. The program quickly spread throughout Alabama’s 67 counties after the duo received an Alabama Law Foundation grant. The program, which celebrated its second birthday in February, is now expanding to a new office in the Pike County Development Center, and, thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Daniel Foundation of Alabama, will pilot its first official children’s book explaining why SHORT loves to read.
In addition to her recent accomplishments, Bennett has co-authored a textbook related to strategic planning for school leaders and published several articles focusing on business management for schools. She has served on the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Athletic Committee, the AISA Academic Council, and the State Hall of Fame Committee. While working in schools, she was responsible for technology, curriculum development, and enrichment electives such as drama, art appreciation, and teen skills. During her 25 years in the field of education, Bennett has been employed as a school psychometrist and early childhood teacher.
She is an active member of the Eufaula Heritage Association, Holy Redeemer Catholic Church, and Troy University alumni chapter. She has served an advisor, leadership consultant, and alumnae chapter president for Alpha Gamma Delta social organization. Bennett and her husband Jason live in Eufaula and have two daughters Bailey and Betsy, who are both current TROY students.