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Focus On Public Education: Dudley Flood
By Birshari C. Greene
Dr. Dudley Eargith Flood said he would
not take a job that didn’t deal with human
problems. He said one reason is that he said
he would do it anyway, no matter what the
job description. The second is that he said
he would be bored elsewhere. Butitdoesn’t
take long to realize that the position of
Ombudsman for the state Department of
Public Instruction is where he wants to be.
Seeing Flood in action is proof that he
fits the unique title given him. Flood said
the Ombudsman is the link for the public
with the department, for it to correspond to
needs within the field of public instruction.
The Ombudsman handles internal and ex
ternal complaints against the department,
ranging from a parent wanting a school
principal fired, to a teacher not receiving
her rightful certification. Flood said.
Flood handles complaints about the state
budget cuts and how they would affect
Last year several school district superin
tendents and other citizens thought that
schools might have to close down for a few
days, and that programs like summer school
would be cut out completely this year.
The calls Flood received were more out
of concern that out of alarm. “They ex
pected me to assure them that schools
wouldn’t close. And I did.”
Flood said the General Assembly is the
only governing body with enough authority
to issue a school closing, and to his knowl
edge, there was no such order on its agenda.
Flood is not only concerned about the
budget, but all aspects of public education.
Flood said he always knew education was
important, and he knew he wanted to be an
educator at the age of 12.
“The people I admired most were teach
ers. The people I respected most were teach
ers. The people that I was certain that meant
most in my life were teachers.”
As a result of his admiration and respect
for teachers. Flood said he learned his most
important lessons about education at C.S.
Brown High School in Winton, North Caro
lina. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and
Political Science at North Carolina Central
University. Flood earned his doctorate
Degree at Duke University in the School of
Flood worked as a professional educator
for the first time in 1955, as a teacher, and
later as a high school principal. Flood next
went to the Department of Public Instruc
tion in 1970, as the Associate Director for
(then) the Division of Human Relations.
Flood said the division was created as a
technical assistance team with the purpose
of aiding the implement of desegregation in
the public schools of North Carolina.
At that time. North Carolina had a tri
school segregated system for blacks, Indians,
and whites. Flood’s job along with the two
other members of the team was to assure the
smooth desegregation of the public schools.
After 11/2 years as Associate Director of that
unit. Flood became its director.
Between 1970 and 1973, the state of North
Carolinaacquiredthemost desegregated public
school system in the country. Flood said the
state was known as a national model, and
received calls about its plan for desegregation
from all other states, except five.
Flood said he then became the symbol of
desegregation in the public schools. Daily, he
faced slanderous name-calling, received death
threats, and threatening phone calls from those
who did not want desegregation. Yet, because
he said desegregation was the right thing to do
for children, Flood put a great deal of effort
into accomplishing his goals.
In 1973, Flood became the Assistant State
Superintendent for Support Services. At that
time, the desegregation program was under
Flood’s guidance, yet the new director Flood
hired, Lee Grier, would govern the actions of
the program. Together, the men re-directed
the nabire of the desegregation unit
Flood said the fundamental phase of deseg
regation had been accomplished. “It was get
ting people to comply with the law, and getting
presence, meaning black, white, and Indian
children in the same facility. The goal of the
next phase was integration.”
Flood said, “Integration is the process by
which you acclimate attitudes, minds, and
lifestyles, and help people to adapt new moral
standards for the advocation of school busi
Flood said the integration of North Caro
lina public schools included staff develop
ment, workshopping, interaction skills, inter
personal communication skills, conflict reso
lution skills, group dynamics, one-to-one
communication, curricula modification, and
dealing with diversity. Flood kept this position
for ten years.
In 1983, Flood became the Associate State
Superintendent While assisting the State
The Performance Theory of Women of Color Qass
All I Have Is My Story
A Performance of Literature by Native and Latin American Women
Dec. 5 Union
8:00 pm Cabaret
Presented by the Theatre Art Committe
of the Union Activities Board
Superintendent, Flood said the position
had more global impact as well as being
a coordinating position.
Although he was no long^ directly
involved with the integration process,
people continued to call him when there
was a problem in their schools.
Then in 1988, when the 20-year Phil
lips administration ended, the new ad
ministration re-structured the cabinet
positions in the department Although
Flood’s former position. Associate State
Superintendent, was specific to the old
administration. Etheridge wanted to keep
Flood in the department Etheridge, then
the newly elected state school superin
tendent, created the Ombudsman posi
tion especially for Flood.
Politics does play a role in how Flood
makes his decisions. Here’s one example.
A principal called him and said that there
was a problem with racism in his school,
and wanted Flood to speak at the school.
Flood explained that his current position
as Ombudsman required him to handle
all problems firom behind his desk. Flood
continued diat although he used to do
lectures and legwork in his immediate
past position, he simply could not show
favoritism for one school, and referred
him to someone else.
Flood said the principal told him that
there was no one else who could reach
the children and that there was no one
else who wanted to talk to the children,
because they had lower levels of skills.
Flood said, “Before he had time to
complete the statement I said, 'I’ll be
Kim Hoke, assistant to the superin
tendent for the Chi^l Hill-Carrboro
School System said, “He’s a wonderful
speaker. He is able to draw the audience
in and take them with him. I know noth
ing but good things to say about him.”
Flood said, “The greatest challenge
in my job is to realize the anxiety level
about educational things that are not
obvious to people, or things that worry
people, because someone with a prob
lem has great intensity.”
December 3-9 Kwanzaa Activities
December 3 Orientation Leader
Interest Session 4pm-205 Union.
Maulana Karenga 8pm-100 Ha
December 4 Orientation Leader
Interest Session 6pm-Upendo
“Three Nights of Kwanzaa”
6; 30pm Toy Lounge.
Study with Theta Pi 6-8pm-BCC.
Decembers Resume Writing Work
shop 4;30pm-203 Howell.
BSM Meeting 5pm-Upendo
Candle Light Vigil 7pm-Union
Meet the Players Night 7:30pm-
December 6 African & African
American Vendors 12- 4pm-211 &
Candle Lighting Ceremony
Umoja Series 6pm-Lenoir North
December? Story Telling Activity
Ebony Readers Fall Performance
Eiecember 8 Talent Show 7pm-
December 9 Kwanzaa Extrava
ganza 2pm-Great Hall.
To place an announcement in the
events calendar call Raquel Bush-
nell (933-0609) or leave an an
nouncement in the Black Ink office.