Kristina Riffle Semukete

Kristina Riffle Semukete is the Founder and Executive Director of Obwaagazi Children’s Foundation in Jinja, Uganda. Semukete has had obwaagazi (passion) for children with disabilities since she was a young girl. Her passion for special needs students brought her right back to Northside ISD, where she taught at Hoffmann Elementary School. During a summer break, she volunteered in Uganda and was offered a teaching position. So she packed up her life and moved 8,000 miles away from home. Once she began teaching, she discovered there were more than seven million children enrolled in public elementary schools in Uganda, but children with disabilities were not allowed to enroll. After three months, she founded Obwaagazi Children’s Foundation, an organization for children with disabilities in the local community. After focusing on community outreach for nine months, Semukete opened Obwaagazi Academy, a school for children with disabilities. The school now has more than 30 students with a variety of needs. Obwaagazi Academy provides love, education, medical assistance, food, clothing, parent education, and therapies to students with disabilities. Semukete is a true product of Northside. She attended Northwest Crossing Elementary School, Stevenson Middle School, and Marshall High School. Semukete volunteered in special education classrooms while she was in high school, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and a Master of Science in Developmental and Cognitive Disabilities from the University of North Dakota. She has taught in Wyoming, New York, Texas, China, Thailand, and Uganda.

Photograph: 
Kristina Riffle Semukete
Pillar of...: 
Caring
School: 
Marshall High School
Year: 
2017
Class of ...: 
2002