Obasohan greets the public

Published 8:07 pm Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Austin Obasohan was not supposed to be standing where he was Tuesday afternoon.

People who were once homeless rarely get the opportunity to succeed, much less share their success with other people.

His openness about his past is not for pity. He hopes he can help someone who does not believe certain obstacles are impossible to overcome.

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He wants a student to look at him and know that there is not much difference other than age between them.

And as the new superintendent of The Selma City Schools, Obasohan wants local children to compete globally for jobs and educational opportunities.

“There is a part of child’s life that has to be touched by someone other than that child’s natural parents; and if you don’t do that, that child is lost,” he said. “Adversity is OK. It’s what you do with it that matters and how you transform the lives of people around you.”

Obasohan met faculty, media and members of the public during a press conference in the Vaughan Room at the Selma-Dallas County Public Library.

A native of Nigeria and an educator for more than 28 years, Obasohan has most recently spent six years as an assistant principal and nine as a principal in North Carolina.

He holds a master’s in education from Virginia State University and a doctorate in education from Appalachian State University.

He vowed to give an open ear to everyone involved with the students’ lives.

“My basic concern for this year or any year is definitely communication. We are lacking a lot of that,” said Carolyn Brown-Smith, whose son is a seventh grader at CHAT Academy. “I’m one that wants to know what’s going on in my child’s life, as well as with other kids.”

Mayor-elect George Evans, a former superintendent of the Dallas County Schools for six years, said Obasohan’s job won’t be easy at times. But Evans believes Obasohan has the right ideas in place.

“I’m very impressed with his vision,” Evans said. “The things he stated and the idea of teachers, students parents and the board all working together is the key to it all. What’s going to take our city moving forward is working together.”