bernadette_alkhatib_web.jpgBernadette Alkhatib, who was twice selected teacher of the year at schools where she worked, lost a six-year battle with breast cancer on Nov. 4. She was 43.

Alkhatib was third of four children of Robert “Bud” and Dorothy Croskey of Ocala, who preceded her in death.  She accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Savior at an early age and, under the leadership of the Rev. A.D. London, pastor of Greater New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, in Ocala, she remained a devout Christian throughout her life.

She attended public schools in Marion County and graduated from Forrest High School in Ocala. She graduated with an Associate of Arts degree from Central Florida Community College. She also earned a B.A. in education from the University of South Florida in Tampa.
While attending USF, she met Abdul Alkhatib, a student leader and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity member and they were married on Aug. 16, 1980. 

She began her teaching career at Marion Correctional Institution in Ocala and for several years, she taught at schools in Florida and also Louisiana.

She was selected Teacher of the Year in 2002 at Janie Howard Wilson Elementary School in Ocala and at Garner Elementary School in 2009 in Lake Wales, where she was a lead teacher until illness forced her to quit. 

Alkhatib, a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority,  was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and those who knew her said she remained brave, committed to teaching and maintained her faith.

Her survivors include her husband, Abdurrahim Al-Khatib; daughter, Ayesha; son, Mikal; granddaughter, Jurnee Amirah, all of Winter Haven; sister, Carolyn Cooper, of Ft. Pierce; brothers, Kenneth Croskey, of St. Petersburg and Robin Croskey, of Gainesville; cousin, Carol Clark Duley (Jeremy) of Winter Haven, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.

A wake will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday. Nov. 12, at First Missionary Baptist Church, 200 Avenue R NW, in Winter Haven.   Funeral Services will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 13, at the church.

Alexander Funeral Home in Winter Haven is handling the arrangements.

The family is accepting donations to defray medical expenses.   Checks may be made payable to Abdul Alkhatib and mailed to 1435 10th Street NE, Winter Haven, FL  33881.

Photo: Bernadette Alkhatib