North Carolina A&T Alum Kenneth Gorham makes history as the youngest principal at Movement Freedom Middle School, located in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The motto at Movement School is “preparing a new generation of leaders” and Principal Kenneth Gorham is leading by example, breaking the mold of what many think a principal should look like.
“I’m 24 years old. I’ll actually be 25 next week,” Gorham told WCNC Charlotte. “I was in my head absolutely about my age, I was in my head absolutely about my years of experience, for sure.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the average age of public school principals is 48, however, despite Gorham’s age, parents at the Movement School say they love him and the attention he gives each individual student.
“He always gives every student a walk through Movement Middle School’s doors, he gives him a hug every morning. If not a hug, a high five,” Moya Montgomery, a parent at Movement School, said
WCNC Charlotte reports that students at Movement School say they also love Principal Gorham and that he’s caring and supportive of their goals.
Parents and students at the Movement School are not the only ones impressed by Principal Gorham’s leadership skills. The Movement School’s administration team also expressed their admiration. Superintendent Jenika Mullen said Principal Gorham’s impressive test results contributed to his appointment.
“When we think about hiring, it is really about like your leadership competencies,” Mullen explained. “Are you someone that people will want to follow and be inspired by? The answer is yes [for] Mr. Gorham.”
According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, during the 2017-2018 school year, about 78% of public school principals were White, 11% were Black, and 9% were Hispanic. Mullen said she hopes Gorham’s story will help change these statistics and inspire a change in the biased view of what a public school principal looks like.
“What I hope people see is not only inspired by Mr. Gorham’s story but also have this mindset shift, and how were you holding on to almost like these expectations of what you think someone should look like and when you think someone should be and what’s the right fit? Because honestly, a lot of it comes with a bias,” she said.
Gorham said he hopes his story will empower students to be trailblazers as well.
“As a black male educator, as a black male leader, my job is to really empower our children, to show them how beyond what the world may believe or perceive. You can change that narrative absolutely any day,” he said.