Should new MCS Superintendent be a black man? - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Should new MCS Superintendent be a black man?

"Needs to be black," he said.  "Needs to be a man," he added.

Memphis school board member Kenneth Whalum Junior never holds back.

"We need what I just said," said Whalum.

He would prefer to see an African-American male at the helm of Memphis City Schools above anyone else.

We caught up with the Rev. Whalum during a ceremony Friday honoring another spirited figure, his father.

"I think when you consider our demographics, our students, the problems we're having with little black boys especially, there's no doubt in my mind," Whalum told us.

Others say race and gender should not matter.

"You've got to have a passion for it," parent Elizabeth Bell told us.

She believes passion should outweigh the color of a superintendent's skin.

"You've got to want to see these children grow," Bell added.

"I could care less if the person is green," said board member Stephanie Gatewood.

She says hiring a leader with a good business sense is her priority.  In her opinion, bringing race and gender into the discussion is wrong.

"We're teaching our children that the only people they can work with are people who look just like them," said Gatewood.

Whalum is quick to point out that a black man in the superintendent's office is only his preference.

"And if somebody stood out as a better candidate--of course I would support that person," said Whalum.

Youthful, courageous, and from Memphis are some of Rev. Whalum's other preferences.  He and other members of the Memphis school board hope to have a new superintendent in place sometime this summer.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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