Staff Spotlight: Meet Kate

Kate Buckholz joined Trident United Way as Director of Education Innovation in April. We caught up with Kate to learn a little more about her. 

Education: BA in Psychology from Seattle University, MA in International Education from NYU

Hometown: Teaneck, NJ

Professional Background: I started my career working in education and nonprofit settings; first at small preschools, then at Sesame Workshop (yes, I met Maria and Elmo!), then in in student affairs at NYU and Yeshiva. In between working with those two colleges, I moved to Guatemala in Central America and worked at two tiny nonprofits focused on education and public health. I made a big career leap in 2010 to aprogram manager role in education at Google, where I spent the last seven years on STEM education initiatives. When I left Google I was Senior Program Manager in Engineering Education and managed a global team that created and implemented programs for K-12 (and some university) students in under-represented groups in technology.

Role at Trident United Way: The Director of Education Innovation at TUW wears several hats but at the forefront I view myself as a unifer and a driver. I am responsible for our Kindergarten Readiness and Reading by Third efforts as well as our portfolio of funded partners in education. I am also responsible for keeping my eye on innovative solutions to education challenges and bringing them to our community.

Favorite part of working at TUW: I am very passionate about equity of access to quality childcare and education and this job allows me to have a seat at the table with other folks in our community doing exactly that work. I love that TUW brings together so many people who have energy around fundamental building blocks: education, health and financial stability.

Three Traits that Define You: I am energetic, have a strong moral compass and persevere through challenges.

One Thing You Can't Live Without: Coffee! Which is probably where all that energy comes from…

Your Definition of Success: Personal success means feeling content with your choices; knowing with certainty that YOU are comfortable in your own place in life—and making wild changes if that is not the case.

A Quote You Live By: “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” –Maya Angelou

Best Book You've Ever Read: My favorite book of all time is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

Greatest Challenge You've Overcome: Transitioning to being a single mom has been a challenge, but it’s also shown me that doing life with my little boys is by far the greatest gift I’ve been given. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it!

Favorite Things to Do in Your Spare Time: I have two sons who are 8 and 5 and I spend most of my free time with them. I am also a runner and love races, especially if there’s a finisher’s medal! I also love exploring Charleston’s culinary scene—particularly any place serving up tacos.

Favorite Vacation: I’ve traveled to many distant corners of the planet, but the best vacation I’ve been on in the past few years is a recent trip to Legoland with my boys. It was so fun to just unplug and focus on playing with them for a few days. We rode cool rides, traded Lego mini-figures with new friends, played in the pool and even saw a waterski show featuring Lego pirates! All in all, a great time.

People Would Be Surprised to Learn: I am fluent in Spanish and that typically takes people by surprise, but has also come in handy in a variety of unexpected situations!