Video Story: Ashland native mentors educators as leader of Promise Academy

Kerrigan Blanchard
Oxford Stories

A Mississippi educator and pastor with a passion for teaching has helped develop a Memphis-area School called Promise Academy.

Patrick Washington, Ph.D., was raised in Ashland, Mississippi. He is pastor of Greenwood Baptist Church in Lamar, Mississippi, and he was the first African American superintendent of the Benton County School District.

After retiring, Washington became a member of an organization called The New Leaders that supports young, African American men who want to become educators. Washington traveled to different cities, including Chicago, Oakland, New York and San Francisco, to train male principals.

He later returned to Mississippi, where he discovered his passion for teaching and implemented a plan. Washington said he worked to build up a school for students from low income families in a Memphis area with a statistically high crime rate. He now serves as the principal of the K-5 school called Promise Academy where most of the school’s educators are African American.

“I always wanted to give back to the community and to be where I am now,” he said. “God has really blessed me with all these opportunities, so I can’t take anything for granted.”

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