Karen Dillard

Founder & CEO

“Take good care of yourself. You will thank yourself later.” – Unknown

Karen was born in Beaumont, Texas, and moved to Plano in 9th grade. Though she did not appreciate it at the time, she says that move was one of the best things that ever happened to her. She is a graduate of Plano High School (before there was a Plano Senior High) and Southern Methodist University (SMU).

Karen is a career educator who started in the traditional public-school environment and migrated to educational opportunities in the business world. She worked with several large test prep companies before launching KD College Prep in 1992.

Based on years of experience, Karen built an educationally solid, holistic program, positioning students to realize all of their college admissions, honors program, and merit-based scholarship goals. KD College Prep quickly evolved to become Dallas-Fort Worth’s leading test prep and college counseling provider.

As CEO and Founder, she does whatever is needed to support the KD College Prep team. Twenty-five years ago, her role was quite different, but over the years she has recruited an outstanding team of people who help further her mission to impact the lives of thousands of students each year. Now, the most important aspect of her job is to foster an environment at KD College Prep that positions students to reach their goals.

“I know good habits, strong confidence, and positive attitudes build healthy futures,” Karen says.

Fun Facts About Karen:

What do you like best about KD College Prep?
“I love watching a student grow in his or her abilities, grow in confidence, grow in maturity, and grow as a well-rounded human being. It gives me a great charge to know that I have made a positive influence on our students’ lives.”

What is your List of Loves?
“I love to entertain. I’ll throw a party at the drop of a hat. I think this is why I love cooking, but only if I am doing it for a party. Also, I love to travel, especially if there is a beach involved. So many beaches. So little time.”

What is something interesting about the school you attended?
“SMU has a very cool tradition [that involves] graduating seniors marching through the rotunda of the iconic Dallas Hall, around the in-laid SMU Seal on the floor, on their way to their graduation ceremony. I was honored to come back and preside over the same event years later when my daughter graduated from SMU.”

What would you go back and say to your 16-year-old self?
“If you always give your best effort, that will be enough. The rest of the world will be a harsh critic, so give yourself some grace. This is a gift often found in a parent’s or grandparent’s wisdom. They have ‘been there and done that’ and can better keep life events in perspective. As I spend more time assisting aging relatives and seeing many of them pass, I wish I had told my 16-year-old self to spend more time capturing their life stories and learning life lessons from their experiences—and writing down the secret ingredients for Grandmother’s chicken and dumplings recipe.”