The principals Daughtry: 'Tough but tender' Part 1
NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 1/12/2012, 2:27 p.m.
As far as Brooklyn dynasties go, the Daughtrys sure strive for their place in history.
The Rev. Dr. Herbert Daughtry and the Rev. Dr. Karen S. Daughtry, of the House of the Lord Pentecostal Church in Downtown Brooklyn, have remarkable children. Two of them are stellar educators in the New York City public schools system: the Rev. Dawnique Daughtry-Pemberton and her brother Herbert Daughtry Jr., principals of two different middle schools in Brooklyn.
The two schools are both named after pioneering educator Ronald Edmonds. Though the schools share the name, they are in different parts of Brooklyn. The first school is in Fort Green on Adelphi Street, while the second, modeled after the first, is housed on the top floor of P.S. 12 on Howard Avenue in Brownsville.
One family. Two principals. Two schools. Same name.
"I never thought about it, just because we do the day-to-day work every day," said Daughtry-Pemberton.
"The second school is modeled after the original Ronald Edmonds Learning Center," Daughtry Jr. told the AmNews. At one point, brother and sister worked in the first school together.
"The home of scholars and champions" is the motto of Ronald Edmonds Learning Center I and II.
"We share ideas all the time-professional and staff development. We are like a little family," said Daughtry-Pemberton. "More than half the staff at my school was here when Herbert was here."
In the ever-changing landscape that is New York City public education, these siblings are working hard to carve a positive, child-centered approach to schooling.
The key to being an effective teacher is "caring and concern-as the pastor [their father] says, 'Tough but tender,'" said Daughtry-Pemberton.
The ordained minister noted, "Ministering is not dissimilar to teaching. We are shepherds as ministers, and we are shepherds as principals-it's about guidance. [Former M.S. 113 principal] Dr. Katherine Corbett always used to tell us, 'Children will rise to the level of your expectations; if you set high expectations, they will rise to them. They will reach them so they can please you.'"
The principals Daughtry proudly acknowledge that they were trained by a strong core group of accomplished educators, including former M.S. 113 principals Corbett and Dr. Khalek Kirkland and Dr. Lester Young, the former superintendent for District 13.
"Dr. Young's philosophy was grounded in making sure students of African ancestry got what they needed to succeed," she said. "He always said that people who loved children were not necessarily bound by what the system said was best, but what we know is best. Dr. Corbett said that we must do what is in the best interest of the children."
The schools' namesake, Ronald Edmonds, was an influential African-American educator who launched a successful movement that led to several major reforms throughout city schools in the 1970s.
The schools have built their foundation on a "children first" philosophy, said Daughtry Jr., and Edmonds' mantra that any student can achieve great academic success, regardless of their socioeconomic background. Daughtry-Pemberton added, "Dr. Young always said, 'Don't wait until you leave; set up your legacy before you go.' That makes sure that the legacy and tradition of Ronald Edmonds continues."
A graduate of Georgetown University and the University of Chicago, Daughtry Jr. began his career as a lawyer. That profession's loss has become the New York City public school system's gain.
An engaged and fully interactive principal in the halls and classrooms of his school, the father of two young boys has a tight but endearing connection with his students. With college prep integral to the school, his classrooms are named after universities, such as Howard, Harvard, Yale and Fisk.
Ordained in 1996, Daughtry-Pemberton extended the pastoral Daughtry line when she became the fifth generation of preachers in the family. She is an alumnus of both the New York City and New Jersey public school systems. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Syracuse University, a master of science degree in educational supervision and administration and a master of divinity degree.
Daughtry-Pemberton first taught social studies and language arts, and when she arrived at Ronald Edmonds 11 years ago, she became the assistant principal. Last March, she became the school's principal.
See Part 2 of this story next week.