(WMC-TV) - Former Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton is putting together a proposal to create a charter school for at risk students at Shelby County Juvenile Court.
He was elected to an unprecedented five terms as the city's mayor and spent 12 years as the superintendent of Memphis City Schools.
Now Dr. Willie Herenton wants to open a charter school with a focus on the children at juvenile court.
"Whatever life I have left I am going to devote it to making a difference to kids, especially those that are at risk, impacted by poverty," Herenton said.
Memphis has more than 30 charter schools opening in the fall. Herenton's group will open 9 charter schools in 2013 and he hopes one more can be added for students from juvenile court.
"We're calling it the Thurgood Marshall Charter School," he said. "It's going to address the conditions of poverty, school violence, bullying, gangs, all of the social problems that really create traffic for the juvenile court system."
The former mayor says his project has the endorsement of Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell and Juvenile Court Judge Curtis Person.
But for Herenton, the juvenile court charter school is also a personal matter.
"I came out of the ghetto," he said. "I came out of an alley through the grace of God and getting an education. I was able to make a difference in my community."
Herenton is expected to make his presentation for the charter school to the Unified School Board in October.
"This is a passion for me," he said.