"Even though I was superintendent, in a way, I was still the kid who needed a scholarship to go to summer camp."

Roger Prosise’s experience growing up in a tough housing project in Chicago gives him a unique perspective when he becomes a teacher and eventually superintendent of a school in one of the wealthiest communities in the country. In this wise and absorbing memoir, Prosise reflects on his neighborhood, his family, and his career and tackles issues related to racial inequalities, poverty, and education. His remarkable story chronicles his childhood and eventual journey through various schools as a teacher, administrator, and volunteer.

Prosise anchors his story in two unique experiences that put him in a position to reflect on timely social issues that are universal. He captures the challenges of being in one of the only white families living in a predominantly African-American community. This is juxtaposed with his success as a superintendent at a school where Michael Jordan’s son attends. As Prosise relates these stories with candor and wisdom, people and places come to life. He eloquently evokes the dynamics of a childhood that has clearly shaped him. Friendships, his mother’s dedication, classes, and sports dominate the landscape of his early life, and Prosise guides us through each chapter with honest, clear-sighted prose.

The second half of the book focuses more on his career as an educator and includes insightful observations about creating an inclusive and effective school culture that is positive and empowering for everyone. His deeply personal odyssey from housing projects to mansions will resonate for many who believe a singular life experience can actually reveal universal truths with startling authenticity. With his life story, Prosise quietly probes the impacts of race, income, and family on education and opportunity. His uplifting, hopeful message about finding success despite obstacles reminds us that the life stories of ordinary people can serve as guiding forces for inspiration.

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