GTMS Life > July 26, 2021

Kuae Kelch Mattox

Montessori formed me. Montessori teachers are committed to the whole child. They’re interested in who the children are as people. My kids have as fond memories as I do. “At my children’s Montessori school whenever somebody did a kind gesture, they put a stone in the “Peace Bowl”. It was a badge of honor for […]

Montessori formed me. Montessori teachers are committed to the whole child. They’re interested in who the children are as people. My kids have as fond memories as I do.

“At my children’s Montessori school whenever somebody did a kind gesture, they put a stone in the “Peace Bowl”. It was a badge of honor for my kids.” 

“It reminds me how my experiences at Greene Towne helped give me a kind heart. The teachers were so warm and inviting. They accepted who we were, understanding that we are all interconnected. The feeling of peace I felt at Greene Towne helped me to have a peaceful heart” The comfort and security I felt was soothing and helped me early onto be good to others and to myself.  As an adult, I wanted to serve others as a journalist. It’s all connected. The way were treated solidified the kindness in my heart.

“One of my strongest memories is going up the stairs; they creaked as you went up the steps. My mom was so concerned about kids falling down the stairs, she lobbied for the gate at the top.” The gate became known as “Bev’s Barrier”

Kuae’s parents were educators. Beverly, who passed in 1997, taught drama at CAPA, Philadelphia’s high school for the Creative and Performing Arts. Father, James, is now retired from his 40 year professorship at Temple University. James was one of the group of professors who established Temple’s School of Social work in the 1960s. He still lives in Philly and loves going to out to hear some good Jazz.

“My parents were active and involved. They were partners with the school.” “My parents were so proud that we were there. They loved Greene Towne and it made me feel like it was second home.” Coupled with the excellent education she received at Greene Towne, Kuae feels strongly that her parents’ involvement was equally important. 

The teachers were an important part of our lives outside of school too. Mrs. Sperr was for me the very first teacher that left a wonderful mark on me. I always liked the way Mrs. Sperr and the other adults guided us. I didn’t see the teachers as teachers but as guides, guiding us to learn. 

Kuae remembers the Pink Tower, rolling mats, folding cloths and above all, “learning how to take ownership and to own our work.” And she remembers Jamie Unkefer, “One of my strongest memories is nap time. Jamie was slightly mischevious, trying to wake people up.

After Greene Towne, Kuae attended Greenfield Elementary School with some other Greene Towne friends and graduated from the Philadelphia High School for Girls before heading off to University of Maryland. After one year she transferred to Howard University to earn her BA in Journalism and then Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism where she was awarded a fellowship to the Alfred I. duPont Center for Broadcast Journalism.

Kuae worked in Journalism for 14 years and then decided to stay at home with her children, but always kept her toe in the waters as a freelance journalist. 

Kuae sent all 3 of her children to Montessori. “I love the process over product. It’s about

“One reason I sent my children to Montessori was my fondness for my Montessori experience. It was warm and nurturing. My parents, particularly my mother, was very involved.

“I think I did so well at Greenfield and Girls High because of the seeds that were planted at Greene Towne. The excellence bred at Greene Towne filtered up, it was the root” Kuae thought of this when choosing preschool for her own children “I chose Montessori for my own children because where you start really plants the seeds for the future.

Today, Kuae is a wife and mother to three children who all attended Montessori school near their Montclair, NJ home. She is an editorial producer for CNN’s morning show New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerata in addition to contributing blog posts on parenting, education, sports, stay-at-home mothers of color and the spirit of volunteerism to HuffPost Parents and HuffPost Black Voices. Among her many journalistic accomplishments, Kuae was a producer for the award-winning newspaper magazine Dateline NBC and Headliners and Legends with Matt Lauer on MSNBC. Since 2010, Kuae has served as National President of Mocha Moms, a not-for-profit organization supporting stay-at-home and working mothers of color.

Kuae’s older daughter, Teddi, has just finished her first year at UCLA. She was recruited to join the rowing team and is majoring in International Development and Political Science. She’s the Global child.

Son, Cole, just completed his sophomore year at Seton Hall Prep where he plays lacrosse and has a special interest in quantitative analysis. Cole’s summer plans included a coding workshop and working at a venture capital firm. He also had plans to establish a hedge fund and was busy researching pro bono legal help when we spoke to Kuae. 

Younger daughter, Evan, just turned 13 and is entering 8th grade where she also plays lacrosse.

We first reconnected with Kuae in 2001 when a group of early parents organized a reunion for families form Greene Towne’s first 10 years to see the, at the time, new home at 2121 Arch Street. 

When we spoke this spring she pointed out that the fact we were talking that day was a testament to Greene Towne’s power.

“Portia is transcendent – I have such fond memories of her. Her style was so open and welcoming. “What would you like to do? She would ask

As an adult, wanting to serve others as a journalist, It’s all connected. The kind way we were treated solidified the kindness in my heart. Kuae loves the idea of process over product – it’s the steps you take, not the end result, that matter. “Thinking critically what do you need to accomplish. It’s an intrinsic part of who I am today. I credit Greene Towne with planting the seeds that I’ve carried though my life.

In addition to her family and her service to others though journalism, Kuae is passionate about Mocha Moms, a not-for-profit established to support stay at home mothers of color, meeting the call of a new generation of African American mothers who have the choice to stay at home or work in a profession. Though initially established to serve women who chose to stay at home with children, today, Mocha Moms’ membership includes a variety of women, some working, some at home, part-time, full-time, and entrepreneurs. Today they have 100,000 followers on line and heir messaging reaches 1,000,000 women.

Kuae first got involved in Mocha Moms in 2001, establishing an Essex County, NJ chapter in 2002.  She joined the national board in 2003 as National director of Media and Publicity and went on to be director of Community Service for Mocha moms

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