Kenneth Gorham did not think it would be possible to be made principal of a school considering his age. The U.S. Department of Education says the average age of public school principals is 48 but last September, Gorham, at just 24, became principal of Movement Middle for the 2022-2023 school year. The Charlotte educator made history in the process as the youngest principal in his school’s history.
“I’m 24 years old. I actually turned 25 next week,” Gorham told WCNC Charlotte at that time. “I was in my head absolutely about my age, I was in my head absolutely about my years of experience, for sure.”
Students, administrators and parents love Gorham for the attention and support he gives each student. “He always gives every student a walk-through Movement Middle School’s doors, he gives him a hug every morning. If not a hug, a high five,” Moya Montgomery, a parent at Movement School, said.
Gorham’s splendid test scores helped get him his new position, Superintendent Jenika Mullen said. “When we think about hiring, it is really about like your leadership competencies. Are you someone that people will want to follow and be inspired by? The answer is yes [for] Mr. Gorham,” Mullen said.
Mullen was also hopeful that Gorham’s story will change people’s perceptions about what a principal of a school should look like. Per statistics cited by WCNC Charlotte, about 78% of public school principals during the 2017-2018 school year were White, 11% were Black, and 9% were Hispanic.
Gorham wants his story to empower students at Movement Middle and beyond. “As a Black male educator, as a Black male leader, my job is truly to empower our children to show them like beyond what the world may believe or perceive. You can absolutely change that narrative every single day,” he said.
In 2019, Gorham earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, an HBCU. He worked as a school teacher and instructional coach before becoming principal at Movement Middle.