RTA BOARD SPOTLIGHT: Barb Kelley, Secretary


Barb Kelley, RTA’s Board Secretary, grew up in New York. Both her parents played tennis and she has fond memories of her dad spending many weekend mornings teaching her tennis on the local high school courts.


Fast forward years later and tennis continues to be a big part of her family culture. Barb and her husband, Ed, play at Raleigh Racquet Club, and their sons, Ryan and Tim, both play as well. Their granddaughters, Adelaide and Cecelia, are taking up the family sport, too! Sounds like a mixed league team in the making!


In the early 2000s, Barb was fortunate to play on several USTA League teams out of the Raleigh Racquet Club that went on to Sectionals. In 2012, Barb was named NC Tennis Senior Female Player of the Year and, in 2015, she received RTA's Sportsmanship Award. Well deserved, Barb!


When not playing tennis, Barb had a successful and impactful career in education. Before coming to the Raleigh area, Barb taught physical education in Bangor, Maine for 29 years. While still teaching, she succeeded North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt as Chair of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, the first teacher to serve in that position. After retiring from teaching, Barb worked for Asia Society's International Studies Schools Network, a network of schools around the country originally established to support low income and minority students in urban centers. She retired (for the second time!) in 2016.


In life, as in tennis, Barb thinks it's important to keep things in perspective. Her favorite quotes are both from Venus Williams, who she thinks has done a great job keeping things in perspective throughout her career.


In Wimbledon in 2004, Venus was ousted by an unseeded player 7-6, 7-6. The Chair Umpire lost track of the score during the second tiebreaker and awarded an extra point to Venus' opponent. She lost the tiebreaker 6-8. Rather than blaming the umpire afterward, she said "I'd like to think that one point doesn't make a difference."


Venus was recently asked if she ever cried after losing a match and she looked at the questioner in disbelief, replying with a laugh, "No! It's only tennis!"


Barb tries to bring the philosophy embodied in those two quotes to her tennis game.

“I think they can be applied to one's perspective about what really matters in life as well.”

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