Redding Mother Overcomes Hardships to Earn Simpson University Degree

For Immediate Release


Katherine KellyREDDING, Calif. - Twenty-four-year-old Redding resident Katherine Kelly has known since fifth grade that she wanted to be a teacher and help students realize their full potential. She enrolled in Simpson University’s School of Adult Studies, ASPIRE program, as a liberal studies major to help her reach that goal.

“I have always loved teaching and school,” she said. “I get along really well with kids. I want to teach a generation dedication and hard work and show them that they can combine all the parts of their life to be who they want to be.”

On Jan. 11, Kelly was one of 195 students to receive their diploma during Simpson’s winter commencement.

Kelly’s 16 months in the ASPIRE program were full of stress and hardship. During her first semester, she and her husband, Kenny, had to move because of break-ins at the house they were renting. They also switched church families, which turned Kelly’s social life upside down.

In February 2013, Kelly gave birth to their son, Lucas. The next month, her husband lost his job, so she went to work at an after-school program. After finding and losing a second job, Kenny found a job out of state in Oregon, so Kelly and Lucas traveled to see him when she wasn’t in class.

“I had tons of support from my friends and family,” she said. “I couldn’t have got through this without them.”

Despite her struggles, Kelly enjoyed attending the ASPIRE program. She appreciated the small class sizes and getting to know other students.

“I got really close to three of the girls in my cohort,” she said. “We had an amazing camaraderie and got to see each other at the same time each week for a year and a half. We did homework together. They prayed for me, shared books, and offered housing during my hard times.”

She also liked the class structure and affordability of the program. Since classes were only once a week, Kelly didn’t have to spend extra money for a babysitter or for gas to get to school.

“I love the acceleration and one class at a time,” she said. “I loved that there’s not busy work and that everything I learned was applicable to my degree. Simpson is the best deal as far as time and money.”

Based on her positive experience, Kelly said she would recommend the ASPIRE program to others.

“I think it is a great program,” she said. “It is great for anyone with a complicated, busy life.”

Before enrolling at Simpson, Kelly attended Shasta College in Redding. She also ran her own business as a Premier Designs Jewelry consultant, taught Sunday school for 10 years, and taught in after-school programs for four years.

Kelly started credentialing classes through Simpson’s School of Education the second week of January. She hopes to graduate with her multiple-subject teaching credential in April 2015 and eventually teach math or science at the middle-school level.

Article by Elise Wilson


Simpson University is a Christian university offering undergraduate, graduate, and teaching credential programs. Academic programs include ASPIRE, a degree-completion program geared toward working adults in the north state. Simpson’s newest programs include bachelor's degrees in Spanish and nursing, and master’s degrees in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Learn about our new Science & Nursing Building at For information about the university, or to arrange a campus visit, call 1-888-9-SIMPSON or visit


Contact: SU Public Relations