One year. One city. Endless opportunities.

The High-school Principal Who Wouldn't Quit

For 13 years, Linda Spight was principal of Detroit's Mumford High School. That all ended when her contract was not renewed for 2009-10, my senior year.

But Spight stayed on because she has another title, one with a bond that is stronger than any contract. She is the mother of the Mumford family.

Because of her genuine love and dedication for us, she continued her constant support of us.

Even though she no longer works at the school, Spight feels it is her duty to attend every single Mumford event, whether it is school related or not. If she is aware of the event, she will come.

Teachers at Mumford, who know Spight well, constantly brag about how dedicated she was to Mumford students and the school itself. They also brag about how "she comes to everything." Of course, I didn't believe she really came to everything, because I was sure she had other important things to do.

At the beginning of May, I began to understand what all the teachers were bragging about. I told Spight about a speech competition I had the next day. She was there to support me. This was the second time this year she attended one of my speech competitions. Right after the competition, she congratulated me and told me she was on her way to a Mumford track meet. That week, Spight went to the Detroit Public School's Excellence Awards banquet, The Detroit Free Press and Ford Motor Co.'s annual journalism banquet, and Mumford's prom, which were back to back to back. Spight said that, as long as she is physically able, she will continue to attend events.

Spight has attended school concerts, pinning ceremonies, the Mumford Grammy Awards, Mumford's Halloween parties, scholarship luncheons, National Honor Society inductions and so much more.

"I believe students need to know that they are loved and supported," Spight said. "I want my students to know that I care and that I celebrate all of the gifts and talents they possess. I am extremely proud of Mumford students. I will keep in touch with them and continue to support them in their endeavors," Spight said.

Even though Spight is no longer Mumford's principal, she is still an authority figure. Students still show her respect and they do not question her corrections of their behavior in the hallway, their attire and their language. Spight says the continued respect is a "conditioned reflex."

Spight has always made it her mission to know her students. She knows my first and last names, my family by name and my journalistic aspirations, even though Mumford has about 1,700 students. Spight knows her students and staff personally. Spight is loved for her genuine love for her Mumford family.

She continues to show that she cares, even though she lost her job in the huge cutbacks engineered in May 2009 by Public Schools Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, who did not renew contracts for 33 of the district's principals and reassigned 37 others.

"I have a passion for the staff and students," Spight said, "because Mumford has been a part of my daily life for so many years. Mumford will always hold a special place in my heart. I have spent more hours at Mumford than I have with my own family. I will always be available to assist any member of my Mumford family."

The class of 2010 is trying to have our former principal on stage at graduation on June 10. Either way, she will be there.

Taylor Ivana Trammell is part of the "TIME 11", a group of Detroit area high-school students working with Assignment Detroit. After graduation from Mumford High School, she plans to study journalism at Wayne State University.

  • Print
  • Comment

Add Your Comment:

You must be logged in to post a comment.
The Detroit Blog Daily E-mail

Get e-mail updates from TIME's The Detroit Blog in your inbox and never miss a day.

More News from Our Partners

Quotes of the Day »

NICHOLAS FISHER, expert at Stony Brook University in New York who took part in a study which found that bluefin tuna contaminated with radiation believed to be from Fukushima Daiichi were present off the coast of California just five months after the nuclear meltdown.