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LEGACY: Kelly Kenyatta Carter

Kelly Kenyatta Carter’s legacy was using her gifts and talents to plant many seeds that would bear fruit in different seasons of her life.

Whether it was teaching in the school system helping students, working with and ministering to coworkers, or laboring in the “Body of Christ,” Carter was a woman that God could use, and the ripple effects of her presence on this earth will be felt for generations to come. She died last Friday, September 29, 2023.

Born on December 24, 1971 in Chicago to Elizabeth Anne Carter Nelson and the late Austin Howard Carter Jr., she was the youngest of five children.

Carter accepted Christ at an early age. As a young girl she would get ready for church and walk to Lilydale Baptist Church in Chicago and sing in the Sunshine Choir. She accepted the call to minister the Word of the Lord while attending college. Ordained an Elder at Miracle Temple Ministries, Inc., she moved her membership to Dwelling Place International Church.

She was devoted to the Lord and had such a zeal to see the unsaved brought into the Kingdom of Christ. She never met a stranger and took every opportunity to share the love of Jesus with them.

An excellent teacher of the “Word of God,” she had an amazing skill of teaching with simplicity.

Carter was a graduate of John Marshall Harlan High School (class of 1990). Her classmates elected her senior class president. She was always a serious student, served on the student council and was elected citywide to serve on the Chicago Board of Education her senior year in high school.

Upon high school graduation, she attended Alabama A & M University in Huntsville, majoring in Elementary/Early Childhood Education. In 1995, she graduated cum laude with a B.S. Degree. She graduated from De Paul University with a M. Ed in Administration and Supervision in 2003, and an ED.S. in Curriculum Instruction and Professional Development from Walden University in 2012.

Carter taught in the Chicago School System for close to ten years and moved to Memphis to be close to her immediate family. She joined Memphis City Schools as a second-grade teacher at Cherokee Elementary and Evans Elementary Schools. She served as an instructional facilitator at Treadwell Middle School and an assistant principal at Treadwell Elementary School. She joined Gestalt Community Schools and served as a dean at Power Center Academy Middle School and a principal at Humes Preparatory Middle School.

After leaving Gestalt, Carter worked for Southern Avenue Charter Schools as an instructional facilitator and principal. She also served as a dean and principal at City University School.

In 2021, Kelly joined Memphis and Shelby County Schools as an instructional support advisor and recently accepted a position as a highly specialized advisor in the Professional Learning and Support Department.

A true educator, who loved teaching and sharing her knowledge with other leaders in the field of education, she has numerous professional certifications.

In 1995, Carter pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and was initiated into the Gamma Mu Chapter at Alabama A & M University. She was a member of the NAACP Memphis Branch, Sigma Tau Epsilon Professional Fraternity and the National Women’s Political Caucus.

She was preceded in death by her father, Austin H. Carter, Jr. 

She leaves her mother, Elizabeth Carter Nelson; sisters Deidre Carter Malone (Patrick), Juandali Dawn Carter and bonus sister Rosalyn Ammons. Her brothers are Austin Howard Carter III (Alicia), John Wesley Foster Carter (Christian), and bonus brother Robert Garrett Jr. Nieces Stephanie Carter, Ashley Carter, Arlycia Thomas (Nickolus), Amanda Carter, Jamila Webb, and Alizabeth Carter. Her nephews are Patrick Malone II, Brian Malone (Brittany), Austin Carter Jr.,  Stephen Carter, John Jr., Joshua, and Al’Trell Johnson. Kelly remained friends with her ex-husband Andre Pharr. She leaves a host of cousins and friends whose lives she touched dearly.

Services: Oct. 7, visitation, 10 a.m., with celebration service at noon, at Dwelling Place International Church, 114 US-72, Collierville; Oct. 9, 11 a.m., Memorial Park South Woods Cemetery, 5485 Hacks Cross Road.

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