Honorees

November, 2013

Luther Seabrook, PhD

Educator

Luther W. Seabrook, MD, a Charleston, South Carolina native, has devoted his entire working life ensuring that all children receive the best possible education provided by the best teachers and educational resources. After serving as a teacher and administrator in the New York City public school system, Dr. Seabrook was afforded the opportunity to create his own school in Roxbury, Massachusetts. The concept he created in 1968, which is implemented today, provided that the parents of the school controlled who was hired and fired and the implementation of the curriculum. The Highland Park Free School was such a success that it was featured in Boston Magazine and Social Policy and highlighted twice on the CBS program “Look Up and Live.”

After serving as principal at the Highland Park Free School, Dr. Seabrook was appointed principal of I.S. 44, which was considered a dysfunctional school in New York. Dr. Seabrook turned the school into a center of educational excellence, drawing children from public and private schools around the city. Dr. Seabrook’s work at I.S. 44 was featured in the books “Does Anybody Give a Damn” by Nat Hentoff and “Urban Education: The Hope Factor” by Woodbury, et. al. After I.S. 44, Dr. Seabrook was appointed the superintendent of schools in Harlem, a position from which he retired. His success in Harlem was the subject of an article in the New York Post, in which he was called “the man who saved the schools of Harlem.”

Relocating to his native Charleston, Dr. Seabrook continued creating institutions of academic excellence and served as superintendent of schools in the St. Paul’s district in Charleston County. He later took a position as the senior executive assistant for curriculum and instruction at the S.C. Department of Education. Dr. Seabrook is a longtime community activist.He organized the NAACP chapter at Florida N&I College; served as vice chairperson of Harlem CORE; organized a Freedom School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi; served as interim director of the Trident Urban League; and chaired the board of trustees of the Community Service Society.

Dr. Seabrook received his undergraduate degree from West Virginia State University, his master’s degree in education from Columbia University and his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the NAACP, the West Virginia State University Alumni Association and the National Alliance of Black School Educators.