Published On: Tue, Oct 7th, 2014

Story of White, Jewish, Beverly Hills School’s Black Principal

where-a-man-stands

Carter Paysinger, a former student at Beverly Hills High School, became its first black principal. His moving, against the odds story is told movingly in a memoir titled, “Where a Man Stands: Two Different Worlds, an Impossible Situation, and the Unexpected Friendship that Changed Everything.”

Carter Paysinger was not a typical Beverly Hills High School student; he was black, Christian and from a run-down neighborhood while the majority of the students were white, Jewish and upper middle class. Carter not only made it, he established a long-standing relationship with the school, and would return as a coach and a teacher after completing his masters degree. One of his most devoted students was James Fenton, who would later become the youngest elected School Board head.

The two met up again after many years as the high school had a number of principals leaving in succession. When the two men decided to make a bid for Carter to become principal, and were told Carter did not fit the “profile” of the school, the two friends were going to fight to the bitter end. Carter Paysinger not only became the first black principal, but in his first year, the school earned its highest API academic rating in its 80 year history.

The book has received positive reviews from the press and celebrities, including legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, who said, “It is at certain moments in our lives that we question, do we proceed and reach for respect and equality or do we quit. Carter answered, and it is a victory for all of us.”

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