Cover photo for Dr. Sandra A. McCalla's Obituary
Dr. Sandra A. McCalla Profile Photo

Dr. Sandra A. McCalla

November 6, 1939 — June 7, 2024

Dr. Sandra A. McCalla

Dr. Sandra A. McCalla was a one-of-a-kind person: teacher, administrator, educator, mentor – and the list goes on. Small in stature but a giant in moral character, she demanded the best in the education of our community’s children — and she delivered. Dr. McCalla was a gift to the Shreveport community, especially Captain Shreve High School, for more than 55 years, and we were blessed to have her.

Sandy McCalla left this world on Friday, June 7, 2024. A Shreveport native born on November 6, 1939, she was preceded in death by her parents, Dorothy Adams McCalla and Earl Gray McCalla and her sisters, Dr. Charlotte M. Bennett and Nelda M. Dennen. Left to cherish her memory are cousin, Nancy Malone of Houston, Texas; brother-in-law, John Stern and wife, Sherri, numerous friends and the Captain Shreve High School family.

After graduating from Fair Park High School, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University, followed by her master’s degree at the University of Northern Colorado and her doctorate in education at Texas A&M University. While still studying for her master’s and doctorate degrees, Dr. McCalla began her career in education starting as a math teacher at Oak Terrace Junior High before moving to Captain Shreve High School in 1967 where she was the hardest and BEST math teacher anyone had ever seen. Though Dr. McCalla took a six-year sabbatical to serve as a professor and dean at her alma mater, Northwestern State University, it was at Captain Shreve where she made a lasting and indelible mark.

In 1979, Dr. McCalla became the first female principal of a Caddo Parish high school at Captain Shreve. Breaking barriers and defying stereotypes were the norm for this Gator. She was the Head Gator twice, totaling 30 years with the second term lasting from 1994 until her retirement in 2015. What did Dr. McCalla accomplish at Captain Shreve? The question should be what did she NOT accomplish? She was a Danforth Fellow, Louisiana High School Principal of the Year, National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Outstanding Principal Award, Caddo Parish School Board Administrator of the Year and Caddo Parish School Board Teacher of the Year. During her first tenure as principal at Captain Shreve, the school was one of thirty recipients of the Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in its inaugural year under President Ronald Reagan. She traveled to the White House to accept the award on behalf of the school where she met President Reagan.

These are just a small sampling of her many accolades and honors. In addition to these awards, following her retirement, Dr. McCalla served on the board of seemingly every community organization in our area including The Glen Retirement System, KDAQ Public Radio, YWCA, Volunteers of America, Shreveport Women’s Commission, LSUS Foundation, Captain Shreve High School Alumni Association and Rotary Club of Shreveport.  

These honors and awards were all justly deserved and are a testament to the type of leader she was. But it was her tireless and dedicated service to Captain Shreve that will always stand out; the inspirational note given to a teacher new at the school, the extracurricular activities she would attend at night, the phone call to anxious parents and the close attention she paid to her students making them feel seen and heard. And of course, “the Dr. McCalla look” given to students, teachers, administrators and alumni that said, “I’m expecting more from you.”

How lucky were we to have Dr. McCalla in our lives with her invaluable commitment of service to others. God bless her and may she rest in peace.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials may be made to the Captain Shreve High School Alumni Association, https://captainshreve.caddoschools.org/o/csh/page/alumni-news or by check made payable to: Captain Shreve Alumni Association, 6115 E. Kings Highway, Shreveport, LA, 71105.

The family would like to express special thanks to the healthcare workers at Schumpert Highland and Encompass Health for their excellent care and compassion.

Memorial Services will be held at First Methodist Church Shreveport, 500 Common St., Shreveport, Louisiana on Thursday, June 13, 2024 at 2:00 p.m. with a reception to follow at the church. Officiating the service will be Reverend Kathy Wafer.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Dr. Sandra A. McCalla, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, June 13, 2024

2:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

First United Methodist Church

500 Common St, Shreveport, LA 71101

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