Oretha Bridgwaters-Simms, a resident of Upper Marlboro, Maryland, is a recent retiree from the Prince George’s County Public School System where she served as Teacher, Guidance Counselor, Principal, Regional Director, Regional Assistant Superintendent, and Executive Officer. She received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Knoxville College in Knoxville, Tennessee and a Master’s Degree in Guidance and Counseling from University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky. She later became certified in School Administration and Campaign Management.
Ms. Bridgwaters-Simms began her career in education in Kentucky, Indiana, and New Jersey. Her nineteen years of devotion as Principal of Glenarden Woods Elementary School earned the coveted Maryland Blue Ribbon School Award. Ms. Bridgwaters-Simms’ stellar career as an educator includes being honored with the National Association of Gifted Children’s Administrator Award, the Maryland State Association of Destination Imagination’s Lois C. Williams Award, Friends of Odyssey of the Mind Award, and the Washington Post Distinguished Educational Leadership Award.
Ms. Bridgwaters-Simms’ leadership and commitment to her community goes far beyond her service as an educator, community service, and advocacy for women and youths. Her participation in state and national education initiatives enabled her to develop and establish education policy and utilize technology, innovation and creativity to enrich traditional teaching methods and enhance student-teacher-parent communication. She worked to galvanize women to volunteer and support various campaigns and spurred community participation in the election process. Her leadership has made indelible marks on organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., with a membership of over 600 members. She has served in leadership roles on many boards including Vice Chair of the Maryland State Human Relations Commission; former Chair of the Prince George’s Community College Board of Trustees; former Chair of Maryland State Advisory Council for the Gifted and Talented Education; judge for Destination Imagination; trainer for the Accelerated Principals Academy; former Secretary for Harriet’s List; and facilitator for the Conflict Resolution Center in the Town of Glenarden.
Ms. Bridgwaters-Simms has also been a recipient of many awards and honors including the Prince Georgian of the Year Award, Top Women of Service Award from Washington View Magazine, Senegal Friendship Award, and the Outstanding Person Award from the Washington-Metro Managers Association.
Born in Alexander City, Alabama, Ms. Bridgwaters-Simms grew up in Louisville, Kentucky. She is the oldest daughter of Joe and Mary Norris and the proud mother of Timothy Bridgwaters. She lives in Upper Marlboro with her husband, John.
Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2016.