Voices Changing Communities:  Dr. Karen Roseboro – Innovating Equitable School Choice

Have you ever asked someone about what she does for a living and discover immediately in her answer that she is perfect for her job?! The answer leaves you hopeful for the future and maybe a little jealous as you hear the energy and enthusiasm in the person’s voice. Not everyone finds their career calling right out of school or can maintain their passion for it long-term. Dr. Karen Roseboro is one of those passionate educators in the Winston-Salem / Forsyth County School system (WS/FCS) that is the perfect match for her new role as the Chief Officer of Choice and Magnet Schools. In this role, she will be responsible for creating innovative and equitable school choice systems that ensure fair and informed school options for all students and their families. Dr. Roseboro has only served in this position for one month but has been preparing for it almost her whole life and has experience at almost every school administration level. Her passion and preparation for this important role should bring hope to any family with a child in the WS/FCS system!

Dr. Roseboro is a product of the WS/FCS system. She attended Paisley Middle School and graduated from Mount Tabor High School in 1995. While at Paisley, she met a pivotal mentor in her educational journey, Ms. Sarah Alston, who taught her language arts, and a love for reading. Ms. Alston would stay with her after school until her mother, who worked second shift, could pick her up. She proved that a caring teacher could build confidence and transform the trajectory of a child’s life. While serving as the Student Body President her senior year at Mount Tabor, Dr. Roseboro was encouraged by her history teacher, Mr. John Giles, to get involved in attending school board meetings regarding redistricting as a student representative. These early experiences influenced her decision to attend East Carolina University (ECU), and she earned the ECU Chancellor’s Minority Leadership award.

She changed her major from nursing to history education and sociology, leading to a teaching profession and working with students with behavioral health issues and learning disabilities. After teaching for four years, Dr. Roseboro gained her administration certificate and became the youngest assistant principal in the WS/FCS at the time, at 27 years young! She later served as a principal, eventually leading the North Hills school in the neighborhood where she grew up. She also served as an area school superintendent. She accomplished these goals while raising a family and working full-time. “Where we start in life is not where we end in life” is true for Dr. Roseboro’s educational journey, even though she has come back to the school system that helped prepare her for a career in education. Her passion and energy are contagious when she says, “I’m sowing seeds of greatness into the lives of young people in my community.”

Dr. Roseboro’s impact on her community started well before this new role at WS/FCS. She was instrumental in several innovative grant-supported programs benefiting teachers, students, and families. The Opportunity Culture program encouraged teachers to stay in the classroom with financial incentives. She led the WS/FCS Equity Access and Acceleration team, which supported the newly developed Office of Equity. She is now leading and transforming the school choice system that helps parents and students make informed decisions about the array of school options in WS/FCS schools, from residential schools, magnet schools, and choice schools. Dr. Roseboro describes the vision for the school choice process as parent-friendly, equitable, multilingual, and composed of worthwhile choices for all students. Students and families can submit their top schools and are guaranteed one of their preferred choices.

Dr. Roseboro is an innovator and admits that the pandemic pressured the community to be more innovative and attentive to the needs of underserved families. She facilitated the work of the Care Teams that engaged with underserved families, “boots on the ground” per Dr. Roseboro, in collaboration with other agencies to provide technology access, educational resources, and food to those in need. Her hope is that these collaborative efforts continue in the future because our children deserve the best of everything. “It only takes a few people to believe.”  We believe in you, Dr. Roseboro!


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