AUSTINBURG, Ohio — To know Tony Tucker is to know someone friendly, caring and engaging.
To see him in action is to understand he’s the exception at a school like Grand River Academy in Austinburg, where he’s the headmaster for grades 8 through 12.
“When we’re talking about African-Americans who are heads of school, can we count that on two hands?” he asked recently.
Tucker calls the academy a “220-some acre bubble.”
The exclusive boarding school has been around since 1831. Tony entered the picture two years ago as Director for Enrollment.
Students told us he’s like a parent-figure to them because he’s such a good role model.
That may be because Tucker still follows his own role model, “my elementary school principal,” he explained. “Mr. Reed was a black man.”
At Grand River Academy, there are 68 students from 16 states and 13 countries. Black students make up about 7% of enrollment.
To graduate from this boarding school means acceptance into a university, most often in the Ivy Leagues.
And for Tucker, there’s one specific lesson he hopes sticks with his students, as it did for him: “I’m not rare,” he said, “there are people who look like me that are more qualified than me. There are people who look like me who are probably better prepared and have better resumes to be able to get positions like these.”
But, he added, “the opportunity doesn’t always present itself for people who look like me to be able to get into those positions.”
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