HOPE – Retired educator and former superintendent of the Hope Public Schools Kenneth Muldrew was honored as a “Man of Excellence” here Feb. 25 during Black History Night at Beryl Henry Elementary School.
Muldrew and his wife, Patricia, were guests of honor for the Boys 2 Men program at BHE, which presented Muldrew to the crowd of some 100 Black History Month celebrants. BHE Gifted/Talented program teacher Kenneth Stewart made the formal presentation of the award.
Muldrew is a 1967 graduate of Henry Clay Yerger High School in Hope, and he received his BSE in Biology from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia in 1972.
He took his MSED in Education Administration from the University of Arkansas, and received Arkansas School Leadership Credentials in Education Administration for superintendent certification through studies at East Texas State University in Commerce, Texas, and the University of Central Arkansas, in Conway.
Muldrew retired after 39 years in public education as superintendent of the Hope Public Schools in 2012, having taught and coached at H.C. Yerger Middle School, served as assistant principal at Yerger, as principal at Lincoln High School in Washington, Nevada High School in Rosston, superintendent of the Washington Public Schools and superintendent of the Saratoga Public Schools, assistant superintendent in the Hope Public Schools and interim superintendent of the HPS.
He serves as a member of the Board of Deacons of the United Christian Church in Emmet, is a member and past president of the Hope Kiwanis Club, is chairman of the Henry C. Yerger – Will V. Rutherford Scholarship Committee and is a member of the H.C. Yerger Alumni Association.
Muldrew serves on the board of directors of the Rainbow of Challenges, and the board of the Arkansas Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
He is a member of the Henderson State University Diversity Committee, the HSU Alumni Board and HSU Black Alumni Committee; and, Muldrew was named the 2010 recipient of the HSU Outstanding Black Alumni Award.
Muldrew and his wife are parents to two children and grandparents of four.
Also recognized, but unable to attend, was BHE Principal Dr. Roy Turner, and recognized posthumously was the late Professor Henry Clay Yerger. Presenters included Kyson White, Xavier Key and Jakari Gulley under the direction of sponsor Corliss Stuckey.
Keynote speaker for the evening was Rev. Curtis Dansby, pastor of Piney Grove AME Church in Arkadelphia, who spoke on “Why We Sing.”
Singing in the tradition of the Black spirituals of the Civil War South was rooted in the lives of slave families and passed generationally, Rev. Dansby said.
“We sing because we could say something in the fields we could not say in the plantation master’s residence,” he said. “We sing to talk about God and Jesus.”
Rev. Dansby illustrated the point with a rendition of “Gonna Be Alright” and an acapella rendering of “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” by BHE teacher Karen Flenory.
Student Joseph Santamaria gave the welcome address. Poetry in keeping with the theme of the evening, “Hold Up the Light,” was recited by Ethan Sharp and Area Grisby, with an instrumental of “Amazing Grace” by Edward Sharp Jr., and choral presentations by the BHE Sixth Grade Choir under the direction of Sandra Jones.
A Black History Month Quiz Bowl between teachers Rev. Curtis Dansby, Kimberly Green, Bennie Lard and Sandra Jones and students Kenoa Brown, Xavier Key, Samya Fellows, Mika Brown, Richard Ware and Zarider Medina was won by the teachers.
A Black History Month PowerPoint presentation was accompanied by the Williamson Sisters, Marilyn Manning, Karen Williamson, Dinell McPherson, and Inell Thornton, singing “Lord, Lift Us Up.”
The program was sponsored by the BHE Parent-Teacher Organization, and was hosted by PTO President Inell Thornton.