YONKERS – Josephine Kirkland-Hudson has been a school social worker for close to 25 years. She began her educational career in the Yonkers Public School system in 2000 and became the school social worker at Rebecca Turner Elementary School in 2005. Throughout her career, she has always searched for engaging and enriching programs for her students to participate in, including No Place for Hate.
Kirkland-Hudson has served as the school’s anti-bullying coordinator, positive behavioral interventions and support (PBIS) coach and PBIS District Leader where she has helped to create a positive school culture, expanding the program district-wide.
In 2008, she brought the Ambassador program to the Mount Vernon City School District where she volunteered her time to teach students about community service, social awareness, and global challenges that impact children and families. Through this initiative, she has taken students on service-learning trips locally and abroad including Nairobi, Kenya; Quito, Ecuador; South Africa; and Thailand, Southeast Asia. In 2010, she was honored at the “Oprah Show” for her years of service to others along with many other community leaders.
With the support from the building principal at the time, Dr. Jamal Doggett, No Place for Hate has been at Rebecca Turner since 2016. Six years later, Dr. Doggett took a position as the assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction. Kirkland-Hudson knew with his support, this would be the right time to expand the program.
In 2023, Ms. Kirkland-Hudson was promoted to No Place for Hate district leader where she and several other colleagues worked closely with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) to ensure all 16 schools in the district completed No Place for Hate with fidelity. As a result, the Mount Vernon City School District is the largest school district in Westchester County where every school received the designation as No Place for Hate.
She continues her work with a passion and vision for change. She currently serves on many school-based teams and district-level committees focused on bullying prevention, diversity, and inclusion. Through No Place for Hate, students have been empowered to become leaders, share ideas, and find solutions to take action. Most importantly, they have learned about themselves, the lives of others, and how they can make a difference. Kirkland-Hudson will be honored at the No Place for Hate Banner Ceremony on May 25, 2023, with the ADL’s Gold Star Educator Award.