The principals Daughtry: 'Tough but tender' Part 2

NAYABA ARINDE Amsterdam News Editor | 1/18/2012, 6:11 p.m.

"Dr. Young founded the Dr. Adelaide Sanford Institute, this is part of his legacy. Dr. Sanford trained Dr. Young and she was his mentor."

Reflecting on his former profession, Daughtry Jr. said, "I practiced law, but I got fed up with the criminal justice system in New York." He added that for African-American and Latino defendants, the system is "stacked against them. It is too strongly geared toward plea bargains and putting people under the supervision of probation and parole. Once they get them in the system, it is very difficult for them to come out on top. It didn't feel right, and I wasn't getting what I wanted done."

When asked if he missed all the lawyering, he replied with an emphatic "No!" However, he noted, "I do miss the trial work, but I discovered I loved middle school."

"Middle school is a special time in children's lives. They are growing in every which way," observed Daughtry-Pemberton. "They are learning about themselves. When children get to middle school, parents feel as if they can let go a little. The children have to negotiate parents versus peer pressure, and they have all kinds of hormones going on. It's not everyone who can handle the challenge that middle school presents, but I will retire from middle school."

The two schools are committed to taking their students to tour a host of historically Black colleges and universities along the East Coast. Usually, Ronald Edmond teachers-including the principals-ante up most of the funds to sponsor a child's trip.

Both siblings have initiatives to encourage greater educational achievement.

"We do various campaigns we call 'Celebrate Success,'" Daughtry-Pemberton said. One such campaign this past holiday season ensured that "every child has at least one gift, but they [had] to earn it," she said.

The students earned points for class and homework, attendance, wearing their uniform and community service. They could cash in their points on the appointed day and buy gifts from MP3 players to alarm clocks and MetroCard holders. It was both fun and productive. "The children want to do well so they can have as many points as they can get."

"I want my students to be good people and be a part of the community," said Daughtry Jr. "I want them to be successful academically so they may be able to compete at the highest level with all kinds of people."