Dr. Margaret J. Starkes was born and raised in the number one city of Pittsburgh. She attended Pittsburgh Public Schools graduating from Rogers School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Peabody High School. During her youth and teenage years, she had a natural artistry gift, performing on stage as an actor and rap artist. Early in her teenage years, she developed a love affair with hip hop and rap music. Beginning her rap career at just 14 years old, she wrote and performed her rap songs all over the city of Pittsburgh under the management of Mark C. Productions. She worked with local legends like Mel Plowden, Nick Nice, Sly Jock, and Mark Charlton of Mark C. Productions. These local leaders reached back to bring her up, inspiring her work as a Sankofa Leader. She even started rap groups of her very own, called The Little Rappers, where she wrote raps and choreographed dance routines for a small group of younger peers for three years. In 1987, she wrote and released a 12” rap record entitled “The Real Queen of Rap” at age 15, making her the first female to release a rap album from Pittsburgh. After high school, she pursued her education, becoming an elementary school teacher and later a Principal. Dr. Starkes carried her passion for writing and rhyming into her teaching career where she wrote and directed Black History Plays, earning her The Thanks to Teachers Award in 1995.  Now, as a Principal in her 28th year as an educator, Dr. Starkes uses her gift of rap to reach back and connect with her students in creative and innovative ways.  She has been recognized locally and nationally for her back-to-school videos as “The Rapping Principal”, where she uses rap to send positive messages to her students and families. Beyond her reputation as the Rapping Principal, Dr. Starkes is also widely recognized for her dedication to children and families. She has served as an Adjunct Professor at Chatham University, helping to prepare future teachers for a career in the field of education. Dr. Starkes earned her B.S. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from California University of Pennsylvania and her Masters and Doctorate of Education degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. She is the proud parent to three amazing young adults, who inspire her to go a little higher each day - Isaiah, Nile and Zion.  Dr. Starkes is an Award Winning Children’s Author. Jazzi’s Journey a three part book series, encouraging young people to dream big and remember that they create their own destiny.  Little Jazzi is most certainly on a journey!  Stay tuned to see where she is headed next.


Jazzi's Journey Book Release 2/2/22




The Rapping Principal

The Rapping Principal

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