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Tuesday, September 13, 2022

24-Year Old HBCU Grad Makes History as the Youngest Principal Ever at Middle School in Charlotte

Kenneth Gorham

Nationwide — Kenneth Gorham, a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, has been appointed as the principal at Movement Middle School, in Charlotte, North Carolina. At 24 years old, he is the youngest person to ever become the school’s principal.

“I’m 24 years old. I actually turned 25 next week,” he 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.”

Gorham earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an HBCU, in 2019. He then worked as a school teacher and instructional coach before he became a school principal at Movement School.

“When we think about hiring, it is really about like your leadership competencies,” said Superintendent Jenika Mullen.  “Are you someone that people will want to follow and be inspired by? The answer is yes [for] Mr. Gorham.”

Ever since Gorham’s appointment, he makes efforts to support students in their goals. The students, as well as their parents, admire him for that.

“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,” said Moya Montgomery, a parent of one of the students.

The school’s administration also hopes Gorham’s appointment to serve as a beacon of change in how people think a school principal should look 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,” Mullen added.

Moreover, the U.S Department of Education said the average age of public school principals is 48. Despite being a young principal, Gorham hopes he could lead by example and empower students at Movement School.

“As a black male educator, as a black male leader, my job is truly to empower our children to show them like beyond what the world may believe or perceive. You can absolutely change that narrative every single day,” Gorham said.