Saturday teachers, students, and principals said their final goodbyes to late superintendent Manny Caulk during a drive-through visitation. The 49-year-old died unexpectedly last Friday.
“He was always laughing and smiling and stuff. He was just a great person to be around,” says Carter G. Woodson student and honorary pallbearer Anthony Jackson. “I’ve always wanted to work in the school system and seeing a black male in as high of a position, it inspires me to be like him.”
Cars lined up outside First Baptist Church on Bracktown Road. Vehicle after vehicle making their way through, carrying students, teachers, and principles.
“Manny meant a great deal to me. He was someone who I would say was a servant leader, but also a listening leader,” says Morton Middle School Principle Twanjua Jones.
Jones was previously the principal of Yates Elementary School during a time when the school was deemed at the bottom 5% of all schools in the Commonwealth.
“He told me he was disappointed that I had allowed that to happen and I told him across the table, I said I accept that challenge,” Jones says.
Jones says Caulk’s leadership was vital and helped bring some of the highest growth to students in the state. Now, Jones gives a final farewell.
“Thank you for challenging me to be a better leader, thank you for providing me with the resources necessary to be a better leader, and just thank you for being my partner,” Jones says.
Doctor Marlene Helm stepped in as acting superintendent when Caulk was granted medical leave shortly before his passing.