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Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.

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Information about Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.

Profile image of Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
School Superintendent

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark Brown
Favorite Food:
Steak, Potatoes, Salad
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
I Can't Stop You From Coming Over Here, But I Will Sure Delay Your Departure.

Birthplace

Born:
6/4/1929
Birth Location:
Nashville, Tennessee

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
School Superintendent

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Dark Brown
Favorite Food:
Steak, Potatoes, Salad
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Mexico
Favorite Quote:
I Can't Stop You From Coming Over Here, But I Will Sure Delay Your Departure.

Birthplace

Born:
6/4/1929
Birth Location:
Nashville
See how Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Richard Earl Stephenson was born in Nashville, Tennessee on June 4, 1929. Following the divorce of his parents, his mother, Odessa returned to school. While there, she met the man who became Stephenson's stepfather, and both of them stressed the importance of education. When World War II broke out, Stephenson's stepfather George was drafted into the Army and Stephenson became the man of the house, working hard and continuing his schooling. A skilled pianist, Stephenson earned a piano fellowship to Fisk University and he also played in a jazz ensemble. Transferring to Tennessee A & I State College, Stephenson earned a B.S. in chemistry in 1950. He later returned to school to earn an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1967 and an Ed.D. in administration and supervision from Nova University in Florida in 1976.

After earning his B.S., Stephenson joined the Army, where he served from 1951 to 1954 as an artillery and guided missile officer. Following his discharge, he relocated to Chicago, where he first worked as a research associate at the University of Illinois Medical School before going into education in 1959 as a teacher. From there, he began his ascent through the administrative levels, serving as first an assistant principal at Forrestville Elementary in 1962 and retiring in 1993 as the Interim General Superintendent of Chicago Public Schools. During his years of involvement with the Chicago public schools, Stephenson also served as vice-president of the Illinois High School Association and vice-president of the Chicago Area Boy Scouts.

Today Stephenson is still active with Chicago public schools, lending his support as chairman of the selection committee that chooses outstanding principals and administrators. He has also been involved with charter schools that oversee "at risk" youth. In 2002, he was honored by the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education as an outstanding alumnus of Tennessee State University. Stephenson is married to retired teacher Ruby Jordan Stephenson. They have four children.

Stephenson passed away on November 12, 2018.

See how Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Richard E. Stephenson, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about a paternal uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his paternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his relationship with his father, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his relationship with his father, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his mother and she and his stepfather's college educations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls playing pranks on his mother and stepfather as a child
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his strabismus and playing football in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his talent for playing piano and a few of his favorite piano players
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the challenge of attending a Catholic school as a member of a Methodist household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his childhood household
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls a harsh punishment he received from a nun at St. Vincent de Paul School in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how teachers at Pearl High School instilled a sense of competition within him
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about playing high school basketball in the 1940s
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about working in high school to support his family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his decision to attend Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his experience at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University in the late 1940s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his relationship with Dr. Clyde Dillard at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his extracurricular activities at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls enrolling in Officers Candidate School and his first duty assignment at Camp Chaffee, Arkansas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls dealing with racial discrimination in the U.S. Army in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls the circumstances surrounding his college commencement address
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his experience in Officer Candidate School in the early 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. remembers a time when a fellow officer defended him at Officer Candidate School
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his first job after retiring from the U.S. Army and how he met his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls pranks he played as a research assistant at University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains his decision to quit his research assistant position at University of Illinois College of Medicine
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about his early teaching career
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about changes to Chicago, Illinois' 47th Street
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became assistant principal of Forrestville Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois in 1967
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls an encounter between a student and a police officer at Forrestville Upper Grade Center in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about a family he tutored in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares a story demonstrating his creative approach to problem-solving
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois in 1971, pt. 3
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains his decision to accept the position of principal at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he cultivated a relationship with Lovell Roebuck, a shop teacher at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he cultivated a relationship with Lovell Roebuck, a shop teacher at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls an interaction with Dunbar High School music teacher Willie Naylor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about individuals he met at Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois during his tenure as principal
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about moving into an Eastern European neighborhood in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the demographics of Chicago, Illinois' Chatham neighborhood in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about Chicago School Superintendent Benjamin Willis and "Willis Wagons"
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes the qualities of a successful school administrator
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about instituting better accounting procedures as principal of Dunbar High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains the respective roles of school administrators and central staff in the Chicago Public School system
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the allocation of federal education funds
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares stories from his tenure as Chicago school district superintendent, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares stories from his tenure as Chicago School District Superintendent, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. recalls once intervening in principal selection at a local school council meeting as Chicago school district superintendent
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares his views on school reform
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. explains how he became interim superintendent of Chicago Public Schools in 1993
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. assesses the contemporary state of teacher salaries in the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. lists education nonprofits to which he contributes
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. talks about the contemporary state of the Chicago Public Schools
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. shares his views on charter schools and public school vouchers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Richard E. Stephenson, Jr. narrates his photographs