Highview 6th Grade Center News

Black Male Superintendent’s 24 Hours of Joy & Pain - 3 Things

Posted on: June 11, 2020
Marlon Styles, Jr.  Superintendent, Middletown City School District

Marlon Styles, Jr. - Superintendent, Middletown City School District

Press the pause button for just one minute.  It is time for me to reflect on the last 24 hours of my professional life.  I want to share my thoughts with you.  My emotions include both joy and pain as a result of three professional experiences yesterday.

  • On June 10, 2020 at 12:49 PM, I read information found in a mailer from a private school pertaining to what they call Enrollment Management.  One particular bullet stood out to me that reads “Making a concerted effort to target appropriate students in public school student candidate pool.”  I have the hard copy of their mailer sitting next to me as I type.  Yes, you read that right.  It did say “appropriate students”.

  • On June 10, 2020 at 2:00 PM, I participated in a webinar facilitated by Dr. Howard Fields, III titled Educational Asphyxiation - Addressing Racism Within Schools.  Dr. Fields presented to over 500 educators during the webinar.  He spoke about the importance of understanding and dismantling anti-racism/bias.  He spoke about the importance of creating safe spaces to tackle, what he calls, passive racism in schools.  #saysomething

  • On June 11 7:30 AM, 2020, I read an article posted in the Columbus Dispatch about a comment made by Senator Steve Huffman.  The title of the article reads ”GOP Ohio state senator wonders if ‘colored’ people’ get COVID-19 from not washing their hands as much”.  Click here to read the article: https://www.dispatch.com/news/20200610/gop-ohio-state-senator-wonders-if-rsquocoloredrsquo-people-get-covid-19-from-not-washing-their-hands-as-much

Dr. Field’s webinar was the experience of the day that moved me, strengthened my responsibility, and inspired over 500 educators to do better.  The webinar was necessary, but more importantly educational.  This was my joy.  On the other hand, it pains me to see enrollment efforts targeting “appropriate students” from a school that is supposed to welcome and educate children.  What about ALL students?  What is an “appropriate” student?  What is “Enrollment Management”?  It pains me to see elected officials, responsible for education legislation, make comments about the “colored population”.

What will the next 24 hours bring?  My hope is accountability for those who are not committed to equity for our students.  Action represents commitment.  My hope is that people revisit their values, and work on treating people with respect.  My hope, as a Black man, is to not experience pain as a result of reading mailers or articles with discriminatory or race related comments.  I’ll sit next to my colleagues, parents, and students to strengthen our unity in pursuit of equity for all.

I am a proud Black male Superintendent who has experienced racism on countless occasions in my life.  Over the past few weeks, I have seen peaceful protests happening all over the world.  I am proud to see the education community stand up against racism.  The time is now for action and change in the educational system to show ALL students we are committed to change.  Count me in no matter what comes my way over the next 24 hours.  All students are depending on me to do better.  They are depending on you to do better.  All students are depending on us to provide a school culture where they see themselves learning.  They are depending on us to allow them to be their authentic selves.  They are depending on us to help them rise to their successes.  Now, let’s go give it everything we have to make it happen for all students.


Marlon Styles, Jr.

Superintendent, Middletown City School District