I’m an educator, writer, coach, and athlete who has been a student of female voice, leadership, and empowerment most of my life.

Time to think is a gift from which we all benefit. Its time to empower you and your team to first listen, then lead with your unique voices.

A Bit About Kathleen

"To say that on a daily basis you can make a difference, well, you can. One act of kindness a day can do it.”

– Betty Williams, Northern Irish peace activist


I planned to be a teacher until my senior year in high school when I decided not to follow in my mother’s footsteps. Instead I became a sports journalist. But that teaching bug came back a few years later.

I came into my own as an award-winning teacher, working in public school districts in Washington, DC, Virginia, and Massachusetts. I was also a high school field hockey, softball, and track and field coach.

In the classroom and on the field I ran informal studies to find new ways to motivate my students. How would I get her to see her potential, or help her embrace her leadership capacity?

To sharpen my research skills I pursued a PhD, conducting research in the U.S., Asia, Europe, and Africa.

Along this journey I have been a sister, friend, teammate, teacher, colleague, and coach to many whose unique voice and leadership have inspired me. I see great potential in everybody, and it is my goal to provide female empowerment and leadership training to change the world, one unique voice at a time.

Come join me!

“So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune.”

― Ruth Bader Ginsburg


I guess it is reflective of a late 20th/early 21st century career that I have swapped paths several times. If you think of it as a maze, at the center of my maze is service and education.

Below is my specific career path that influences each one of my talks, trainings, and workshops.

Founder, Kathleen Ralls LLC - Providing female empowerment & leadership training.

Adjunct Professor/Research Assistant, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell,   Massachusetts

History Teacher and Club Advisor, Westford Academy, Westford, MA

History Teacher and Athletics Coach, Northampton High School, Northampton, MA

History Teacher and Club Advisor, Carl Sandburg Middle School, Alexandria, VA

Student Teacher, School Without Walls, Washington, DC Public Schools, Washington, DC

Athletic Communications Assistant, American University, Washington, DC

Sportswriter, The Sun, Lowell, MA

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.”

- Nora Ephron


Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Journalism,
University of Massachusetts Amherst (2000).

Master of Art in Teaching (MAT) in Secondary Education,
American University, Washington, DC (2004).

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Leadership in Education,
Dissertation title “A Mixed Methods Exploration of Girl Athletes’ Development of Voice Empowerment in Wolaita Soddo and Bekoji, Ethiopia: A Three Article Dissertation”, University of Massachusetts Lowell (2020).

“If you know you are on the right track, if you have this inner knowledge, then nobody can turn you off... no matter what they say.”

- Barbara McClintock


My research is dotted with the homing points of leadership, voice empowerment, and sport. I have taken a female-focused, global perspective in my research to better understand the ways of the world. 

Here are some of my favorite research projects that I base my talks, trainings, and workshops.

Chelmsford High School, Massachusetts
Collaborating with my high school coaches and teammates, we formed a committee to discover the impact sport has had on fellow alumna and coaches. We piloted and collected a mixed-methods survey whose results will be released in 2022, which just happens to be the 50th anniversary of the passing of Title IX legislation.

Girls Gotta Run Foundation, Soddo and Bekoji, Ethiopia
I have always felt that my voice is empowered because of sport, but I wondered if other females felt the same. In 2019 I traveled to Soddo and Bekoji, Ethiopia to find out whether members of the Girls Gotta Run Foundation perceived greater voice empowerment as a result of their participation in sport. I collected mixed methods data including interviews, questionnaires, and observations via attending school, sports practice, lunches, and Life Skills programming. And yes, those girls also felt they used their voices amongst their friends and family because of their participation in sport and identification as athletes! 

Civic Education, Galway and Limerick, Ireland
I used to tell my high school students that if they approached me 10 years after I taught them and told me that they hated me or my class, but that they voted in elections, then I would be happy that I did my job. To be honest, I probably would not be all that happy, but I really wanted to emphasize the importance of participating in the political process. In a quest to understand how other nations that have federal civic education mandates operate, I traveled to the place of my great-grandparents in 2016. There I met with national scholars who spoke on the pros and cons of their curriculum.

Fulbright Roving Scholars Program
When I first heard about this program I thought, I am a state school kid, this is not for me. But my husband told me that I was going to apply, I was going to get it, and that I was going to go. And so I did. As a Roving Scholar, I traveled to ungdomsskoles in all regions of Norway in 2013-14, sharing knowledge of U.S. culture. Among the many opportunities I had that year, I led teacher workshops for Norwegian educators at the secondary and university levels, and presented at several international conferences and for the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research. This yearly program is sponsored by the U.S. State Department and the Norwegian National Centre for English and other Foreign Languages in Education. 

International Training & Development American Youth Leadership Program in Norway
I am one of those crazy teachers who has taken groups of high school students on trips abroad. While you want to foster cultural curiosity and an appreciation of history, sometimes your main objective is to tire out those boundless teenagers! Students on this tour researched ways that environmentally-conscious Scandinavians are trying to save the planet. My inspired students came home and initiated their new climate-conscious knowledge into their local community. This program was funded by the Youth Programs Division, the Bureau for Educational and Cultural Affairs, the U.S. Department of State, and by the U.S. Embassy in Oslo.

National Consortium for Teaching about Asia China Study Tour “China’s Cultural Identity and Diversity”
I joined secondary teachers from the Northeast where we collected qualitative data on minority groups living in six Chinese communities. I thought learning about the beginnings of such long-standing cultures would serve as a model for how newer, western cultures evolved. I formed lifelong bonds with teachers, as we got to see China just weeks before it hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics. This tour was funded by the Freeman Foundation and the Five College Center for East Asian Studies.

"Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose."

- Zora Neale Hurston


Ralls, Kathleen. Take Her Word for It: How Sports Cultivates World-Class Leaders. Book publication by New Degree Press, Spring 2022.

Ralls, Kathleen. How Girls in Wolaita Soddo and Bekoji, Ethiopia Find Voice Empowerment Through Sport. Accepted by Girlhood Studies, November 2021.

Ralls, Kathleen. (2021). In search of voice empowerment in female athletes in Ethiopia: A qualitative study. The International Journal of Sport and Society, 12(2): 1-22. doi:10.18848/2152-7857/CGP/v12i02/1-22.

Ralls, Kathleen. (2020). Collecting Cultural Feedback on Ethiopian Views on Girls, Sport, and Voice. The Qualitative Report, 25(12), 4224-4244. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2020.4369

“An Examination of Self-Agency, Empowerment, and Voice in Female Student Athletes in Ethiopia,” TQR 11th Annual Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, January 15, 2020.

“Girls Gotta Run, and Boys Do Too!” Invited Research Presentation, Centrowitz Running Camp, Portsmouth, Rhode Island. August 1, 2019.

“Feminine Voice: Expression and Perception in the Global South” Invited Research Presentation, Voices of Resistance Conference, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA. February 22, 2019.

“Perspectives on Education in Norway” Invited Research Presentation, Fulbright Norwegian-American Conference, Oslo, Norway. February 13, 2014.

“Folly of the U.S. Constitution” Invited Research Presentation, Nordic Association for American Studies, Oslo, Norway. October 26, 2013.

  • Fulbright Roving Scholar of American Studies in Norway
  • National Consortium for Teaching about Asia China Study Tour “China’s Cultural Identity and Diversity” Scholar
  • National Society of High School Scholars Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction
  • Pioneer Valley Excellence Award: New Teacher of the Year
  • Northampton Special Education Parents Advisory Award
  • “Two Kathleens Award” Scholarship

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