Gwendolyn G. Rooks, a native Baltimorean and product of Baltimore’s elementary, secondary and institutions of higher learning, is a retired Principal of Hamilton Elementary/ Middle School, entrepreneur, and community activist.
During her tenure at Hamilton Elementary/ Middle School, students’ performance on national and local tests provided scores that ranked the school among the highest test-takers in Maryland. As the former owner and operator of Merryman Boutique in Baltimore City, she has been recognized for her successful entrepreneurial spirit. As a member of a national service organization, Rho Xi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., she developed the grant for an after-school mentoring program for young women.
This program, After School AKAdemy, offers an arts-based program to middle school girls from Booker T. Washington, Midtown Academy and Mt. Royal Middle Schools, to help improve their school performance and provide a safe environment after school. Members of the Rho Xi Omega chapter of AKA sorority act as mentors to participants. She is currently the director of this highly lauded After School Program for Middle School girls, that is a partnership program of Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland .
Mrs. Rooks serves on several boards including the Leadership/Scholarship Guild of Heritage Untied Church of Christ, Ten Hills Community Association, Baltimore School for the Arts, Continental Societies, Inc. Scholarship Review Board and the Children’s Choir of Maryland. She is a former consumer member of the Physician Quality Assurance Board for the State of Maryland (a gubernatorial appointment), where she se served eight years. She currently serves as a consultant to Family and Children’s Services of Central Maryland Adolescent Programs and Clean Air Partners, an organization that designs programs for childcare providers who work with children ages 2-6. Gwendolyn is a member of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
In addition to her community/civic service, she takes care of home as a wife, mother and doting grandmother of two. Gwen and her husband, Ronald, are antique enthusiasts. They co-published, the Rooks Locator, an internationally advertised mail auction catalog on collecting memorabilia and ephemera.
Mrs. Rooks continues to volunteer for voter registration drives, to serve meals at our Daily Bread (a food kitchen for the homeless) and to participate in high school career days.
She has received numerous recognitions for her selfless services to include, Rho Xi Omega Chapter’s highest award, Cultured Pearl (2003); 100 Black Women’s President’s Award (2004); Annie Roberts Foundation’s Community Service Award (2005); Ravens NFL Community Quarterback Award (2006); SHERO Award (2007) and one of Baltimore Magazine’s Baltimoreans of the Year (2006); The Torchbearer Award – National Coalition of 100 Black Women (2008) for sustained and Distinguished Service to the Community; Coppin State University – Distinguished Alumni Award (2011); and, The award/reward that she is most proud of is the success of her “girls” in the After School Program and the students/families she mentors.
Biography courtesy of the Maryland Commission for Women, 2012.
© Copyright Maryland State Archives, 2012