Urban League to Honor Superintendent Dr. Russell W. Booker
The Urban League of the Upstate has announced Dr. Russell W. Booker, Spartanburg School District 7 Superintendent is their Whitney M. Young Jr. Humanitarian Award recipient. Dr. Booker will be honored during the Whitney M. Young Jr. Humanitarian Award Gala on October 24, 2013 at the Marriott in Spartanburg - 5:30pm reception, 6pm dinner.
This is the 13th year for the organization recognizing residents for their efforts in making a difference. The Urban League describes a humanitarian as one “who strives to further the understanding and cooperation among the races and contributes to improving the quality of life in the Upstate.”
A committee goes through a list of potential award recipients to make the selections. Past honorees include former United Way of the Piedmont CEO Kathy Dunleavy, community volunteer, Dewey Tullis, chairman of Johnson Development Associates, George Dean Johnson, former mayor Bill Barnet, former state representative Brenda Lee Pryce, representative Harold Mitchell, and S.C. Supreme Court Justice Don Beatty.
Jil Littlejohn, CEO and President of the Urban League of the Upstate commented, “Dr. Booker exemplifies the spirit of the late great Whitney M. Young, Jr. who Young once said, ‘It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.’ The work Dr. Booker has done for District 7 and the greater Spartanburg community is the action behind the quote. We are honored at the Urban League to honor Dr. Booker’s great works.”
In 1961, at age 40, Young became Executive Director of the National Urban League. During his ten-year tenure at the Urban League, he both greatly expanded the organization’s mission and kept the support of influential business and political leaders. Young initiated programs like “Street Academy”, an alternative education system to prepare high school dropouts for college, and “New Thrust”, an effort to help local leaders identify and solve community problems. Young was also one of the organizers of the March on Washington.
Dr. Russell W. Booker is a native a Spartanburg, South Carolina. He is serving in his fourth year as the Superintendent in Spartanburg County School District Seven. Prior to assuming the role as superintendent in District Seven, he served as superintendent of York School District One. Dr. Booker received his Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Wingate University in North Carolina, and his Masters, Educational Specialist, and Doctorate degrees from the University of South Carolina - Columbia.
Dr. Booker currently serves on the board of his alma mater, Wingate University. In 2008, he was recognized as Wingate Universities’ Outstanding Young Alumnus and received the Citizen of the Year Award from the Greater York Chamber of Commerce. In 2009, he was recognized as South Carolina’s Superintendent of the Year by the CATE Division.
Dr. Booker is a South Carolina Liberty Fellow, a graduate of the Diversity Leaders Initiative through the Riley Institute, and the Spartanburg Regional Fellows program. He is a member of the Spartanburg Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., The Southside Lions Club, The Spartanburg Downtown Rotary Club, and the NAACP. He serves as the board chair of United Way of the Piedmont, the Spartanburg Commission of Higher Education Board, the Spartanburg College Hub Board, and the President-elect of the Superintendent’s Division of South Carolina Association of School Administrators. He holds membership in numerous professional organizations.
He has been married to Sheryl McClerklin Booker for nearly 19 years. They are the proud parents of two sons, Grant (12) and Maxwell (10). In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family, running, and playing golf. The Booker’s reside on the eastside of Spartanburg and are members of Mount Moriah Baptist Church.