In Memory of

Dr. Terrence Brown, West Memphis School District’s Superintendent

There are many positions that are held where servant leadership may not be listed among the duties of the job description, but they certainly trump most of the ones enumerated by the institution or company that prepares them. So, when you talk about a person who is in leadership in education, it goes without saying that that position is one of servant leadership.
West Memphis Superintendent Dr. Terrence Brown illustrated the characteristics of servant leadership. But, most who work outside of the school system are not cognizant of the time dedicated to serving the crops of the educational field.
What many may not realize is Dr. Brown was a farmer of sorts. And as a successful farmer, he had to know how to select the right people to plant in the right classrooms and the right schools because he was experienced with evaluating growth and knowing how to weather the various educational climates, noting how to tend to the soil to make sure it brought a good harvest. Dr. Brown, too, understood the value of the diversity of the crops and living beings of the varying backgrounds, being strategic and deliberate of the care that needed to be brought to each board meeting, each budget season, and each program.
As a good steward of a good crop, he knew he was going to yield a great harvest with this 2023-2024 class. So, he employed the best harvesters and material handlers to ensure the posterity he was nurturing in the West Memphis School System had the necessary tools to be able to thrive. After all, a farmer cannot sit with his crop day and night. They have to have the proper soil and irrigation system to give them good footing when the farmer is not around.
So as the journey for the harvest continued, Dr. Brown had to in some cases bring out his sprayers, seeders, rakers, and mowers. He made sure West Memphis was equipped regardless of whether he had corn, cotton, beans, or tomatoes that had to be planted and tended to. Now some may say you can’t grow all of that together. But the beauty of being a farming superintendent is that you have land that extends beyond the eye where everyone has a place to grow.
As a farmer, one has to know that there is a lot of responsibility and hard work, but once you understand it is a way of life, every year’s experience brings more and more pride.
We know when it comes to education the harvest is great but the laborers are few. But the ones who choose to work in education, are helping to sustain our neighborhoods and communities.
So while we call him Dr. Terrance Brown because he earned the title, we can esteem him as a farmer as well for his crop yield is plentiful and sustainable.
Mohammad Ali said, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth”. Well, Dr. Brown, you have served enough to pay rent for all the lives you have touched in West Memphis, Arkansas. I believe you shall hear, “Well done.”
Stephanie Jones White,
Executive Director
West Memphis Chamber of Commerce