9th Annual International Women's Circle
2020 International Women's Circle Honoree's
International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women - while also marking a call to action for accelerating gender equality. In honor of International Women's month This year the Multicultural Center of the South is taking the time to recognize some of the great Women right here in our very own Shreveport/Bossier area. These are women who work in Political, Social, Economic, Educational and Cultural fields and help better our community.
Ollie Tyler was born in Blanchard and reared on a dairy farm. She picked cotton as a girl and ironed and cleaned a residence to earn her lunch money. She graduated as valedictorian from Herndon High School in Belcher and earned a National Merit Scholarship to the Grambling State University, from which she received a Bachelor of Science degree. She taught at Youree Drive Middle School for twenty-three years until she was appointed as the school's first female African American principal.
She obtained a Master of Education degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She completed forty-two graduate hours through Southern University at Shreveport, Louisiana State University at Shreveport, and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches. In addition to Shreveport, she has resided in New York City and in Houston and Killeen.
In 1994, the Caddo Parish School Board named Tyler Director of Middle Schools and elevated her to deputy superintendent. In 2000, Tyler became deputy superintendent/chief academic officer for the New Orleans city public schools, where she served for three years. In 2003, she returned to the Caddo Parish School Board in Shreveport as the parish superintendent. In 2004, she was a member of the education transition team for incoming governor of Louisiana Kathleen Blanco. In 2007, she was named "Louisiana Superintendent of the Year". In 2007, Tyler assumed the position as Deputy State Superintendent of Education. Tyler served as interim Louisiana state education superintendent, having served in that capacity from May 2011 to January 2012.
Tyler is included among the "Ten Most Influential Women in Northwest Louisiana."
Cozette Jones is a woman of great excellence this is evident by her community based body of work. Standing for all parts of our community she is currently a member of V.O.T.E. (Voice Of The Experience) for Prisoner Reform and is a member of Louisiana Federation of Democratic women. She is also a political campaign strategist and marketing consultant and has campaigned for US presidents, US senators, representatives and many more. She is actively working with the democratic party and has been there since the age of 9 where she helped by registering Voters for President John F. Kennedy.
Along with her political involvement she also is active in the community participating in organizations such as our very own MCCS, The Resources Center, Northwest Louisiana YWCA, Shreveport Women's Commission, and Minority Chamber of Commerce.
She is currently running in the election for Caddo Democratic Parish Executive Committee, where she is sure to showcase her excellent skills she has acquired through her involvement.
She is a beliver of the famous Martin Luther King Jr. quote:
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve...you only need a heart full of grace, a soul generated by love."
Lauren V. Tarver is currently an Assistant District Attorney in Caddo Parish. Lauren graduated from Louisiana State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Communications in 2013 and furthered her education at the Paul M. Hebert School of Law (LSU Law) where she graduated in 2016 with a Juris Doctorate and a diploma in Comparative Law. After moving back home to Shreveport, Lauren felt it was extremely important to immerse herself within the community through giving back and volunteer work. Tarver currently volunteers with a local organization called Teen Court whose purpose is to eradicate youth recidivism within the juvenile justice system and foster consequences that are constructive, educational, and rehabilitative. Lauren also coaches a mock trial team at her former high school, and is a member of the Transformation Next Advisory Council which is a community based board established to help lower performing schools within Caddo Parish by pursuing initiatives to meet Louisiana’s academic criteria. Lauren presently co-chairs her family’s scholarship foundation, VRC Educational Scholarship Foundation, which was created by her parents as an effort to directly give back to the community. Over the past five years VRC has given more than $85,000 in college scholarships to students in need.
Tarver couples her passion for helping others with her profession to help empower women. In January of 2019, Lauren and two friends started a podcast called “The Link Up.” The Link Up focuses on providing a voice to black professional millennials maneuvering their way through LIFE. The podcast was started after Lauren and her friends realized that they were experiencing a lot of the same struggles, not only in the workplace, but in their personal lives as well. The platform was created to cultivate a community of support amongst black professional women, and to let other millennials know that they are not alone in the struggle. Lauren has one fur-baby, Huey P., whom she loves with all of heart.
Donna is the Louisiana State Chapter Director for ThinkFirst National Injury Prevention Foundation and Executive Director for ThinkFirst of the Ark-La-Tex. Donna is responsible for the development and implementation of all the activities of the local chapter based in Shreveport. Since it formed in 1996, over 200,000 children, youth and adults have seen the ThinkFirst safety message in the Ark-La-Tex area.
The mission of ThinkFirst of the Ark-La-Tex is “To prevent brain, spinal cord and other traumatic injuries through education.” In order to achieve this mission, Donna has successfully instituted this program by fostering cooperation over competition. This has allowed the utilization of services and resources from different area hospitals, physicians and schools, as well as drawing on business and community support. She serves on many local, state and national organizations that advocate safety for children, youth and adults. Through her work in other organizations she has been involved in raising funds to support our community through the Shreveport Symphony Guild and the Shreveport Medical Society Alliance in addition to her fundraising effort for ThinkFirst of the Ark-La-Tex. Donna has received several community awards for her civic and philanthropic work.
Donna and her husband David, a neurosurgeon, were instrumental in bringing the ThinkFirst program to the Ark-La-Tex area. Donna is a graduate of Southwood High School in Shreveport and has a B.A. in Elementary Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Donna and her husband are active in First Baptist Church of Shreveport, they enjoy traveling and they both are avid LSU fans.
Bonnie Dubin has been active in the Shreveport/Bossier Community for over 30 years.
She has been on boards such as the Shreveport Chamber of Commerce, Sales & Marketing Executives, Association of Talent Development, Community Renewal International and Bossier Youth Leadership.
Bonnie owns Banners Plus (which is celebrating 32 years) and has been the Team Development Manager for the 8000 Willis-Knighton employees since 2010.
She been awarded the Jefferson Community Service Award, the Rising Young Community Leader Award and is an ATHENA award Recipient.
Bonnie is married to Stuart and has three grown children and three grands!
Mary Rounds is a graduate of Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, LA; has a Master’s in Supervision and Administration from LSUS; and has completed extensive coursework from LA Tech, Southern University, and LSUS;
She is a certified high school English and speech teacher and was a 1980 pioneering staff member at Caddo Parish Magnet High School, where she served until 1994. Ms. Rounds worked as an Assistant Principal for three years at Ridgewood Middle School and returned to become the Principal of Caddo Parish Magnet High in 1997. During her tenure as principal, the school consistently ranked as one of the top schools in the nation, was documented in U. S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Schools, earned awards at the State Level for Top Test Scores with statewide Accountability, produced National Merits, state winners at the Literary Rally, was a featured winner for the Intel Science Talent Competition and the Siemens Science Competition, earned numerous awards at ArtBreak, had one of the top debate programs in the nation, and the school consistently produced superior programs in drama, orchestra, and music. She was most proud of the work that she did each year with the staff at Magnet to help graduate 98-99% of students and get them into colleges and universities throughout the nation, some of which are select. Graduating seniors annually averaged about $23M in scholarship offerings. Rounds is also extremely proud of the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence earned in 2008 from the United States Department of Education.
Professionally, Ms. Rounds was a member of the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Louisiana Association of Principals, the Louisiana Associations of School Executives, and she served as the head of the High School Principals’ Association, a rotating position. She was named Regional Principal of the Year for the Northwest Region of Louisiana and competed at the state level in January 2006 and again in 2014, where she moved to the Semifinalist level and was honored in Baton Rouge, LA.
Ms. Rounds is active in her community when time permits. She is a former member of the LSUS Alumni Board, having earned the Lifetime Outstanding Alumni Award in 2012; she served as a member of the Meadows Museum Board; she conducted fundraising efforts for the Volunteers of America; is a former member of Downtown Rotary; served on the Board of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities; and she works with her church.
After retiring from Caddo Parish Magnet High School in 2014, Rounds was tapped by newly-elected Mayor Ollie Tyler of the City of Shreveport to serve as her Confidential Secretary, where Rounds worked from 2014-2018.
She loves the arts—visual and performing—and attending and supporting events that enrich the lives of citizens. She is learning to cook healthy meals, loves to read, and treasures time spent with her aging mother.
Shirley Pierson has served in the Caddo parish school system for 30 + years. During her time at Caddo Parish School System she served in the area of teacher coordinator and retired as principal of west Shreveport Elementary School. After leaving Caddo Parish School system she now works as chief operating officer of Linwood Public Charter school. She has contributed to our community by providing workshops on necessary skills such as parenting skills, helping your children, children safety, family nutrition and more.
Her community involvement is not only limited to her professional commitment. She is member of the Krewe of Sobek and served as the krewes parade chair for 10 years. She works hard for the Krewe recruiting participants, organizing parades and collaborating with the City so the parades go off without a hitch.
Myra Robinson has been a member of, in her opinion, the best Krewe in Louisiana “The Krewe of Sobek”, going on 6 years now. Even before she became a member, she experienced first-hand their commitment to and support of our community.
As a director of a community-based mentoring program for children, “Reach for the Stars Mentoring Program” she was responsible for recruiting adults to become mentors at the school-based program. Many members of the krewe volunteered to serve as mentors to children at the school. They were matched with a child and provided them with attention, friendship, tutoring support, encouragement, and above all love. Their presence helped greatly to enhance the lives of the children and sometimes their families. To this day, she is sure that these children remember their mentors as much as the mentors remember them.
For years, she attended the annual Mardi Gras ball to show support of their effort to raise funds that would help support programs in the community. It was only natural for her to become a member of Sobek because she knew that not only were they actively involved in making a difference in the community, but they also liked the fellowship and have lots of fun.
She has been assigned responsibilities of serving on the Parade Committee, Membership committee and the Ball Committee. She also takes the time annually to use her creative abilities to decorate tables for the Grand Ball. She likes planning, thinking and researching ways to ensure the tables exemplify the theme for the year. Her most favorite theme to prepare for was “Sportsmania”. Unlike most, I do not have a favorite sports team. However, working for Caddo Schools in the Athletic department, she was fortunate to connect with Green Oaks and Booker T. Washington High Schools to create a one-of-a-kind themed table. “Soul Bowl”, a traditional rivalry game between the two football teams. One-half of the table represented each team with their helmets, jerseys, footballs, team mascots, green turf, and more.”
During the annual parade, she delights in riding the floats through the Queensboro community tossing beads, candy, stuffed animals, etc. enjoying the smiles on faces of children as well as adults.
Laissez bon temps rouler!! (Let the Good Times Roll!!)
Sandra Bigham is this year's featured artist. Her custom Mardi Gras costumes have been the Belle of the Ball for years. For more Information on Saundra Bigham Click here to view her page.