Education Beat Flint Community Schools: Assistant Superintendent Keiona Murphy Resigns; Terae King Removed as Flint Board Vice-President; Charges of Racism Block Bid to Make MacIntyre Treasurer

By Harold C. Ford

“We have met the enemy and he is us.”

–Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s Earth Day 1970 parody of a similar statement by Master Commandant

Oliver Perry in the War of 1812

The resignation of Keiona Murphy, assistant superintendent for Flint Community Schools (FCS), was announced by Superintendent Kevelin Jones in a statement made available to the public April 25.

Former Assistant Superintendent Keiona Murphy. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Later the same day, four members of the Flint Board of Education (FBOE) Trustees Laura MacIntyre, Joyce Ellis-McNeal, Melody Relerford, and Claudia Perkins, board secretary – voted to remove Terae King from his vice president position during a special meeting of the board, citing lack of “maturity” as a reason.

An attempt to unseat Dylan Luna from the board’s treasurer position, and replace him with MacIntyre, failed when King charged MacIntyre with racist comments made toward him at a recent school board conference in Florida.

FCS graduate, 20-year employee, Murphy steps down

Superintendent Kevelin Jones announced Murphy’s resignation in an April 24, 2023 memo posted at the FCS website.

The memo read, in part:

“I am writing to inform you that yesterday evening, Assistant Superintendent Keiona Murphy submitted her letter of resignation from her role at Flint Community Schools effective May 5. I thank Keiona for her contributions to the district over the past 20 years, and we are working closely to ensure a smooth transition. The Michigan Department of Education and the Genesee Intermediate School District have graciously offered their support in the interim. Over the past several years, the district has faced a variety of challenges we have been able to overcome with the support of our entire school community, including our scholars, families, teachers, staff, partners and neighbors.”

The remainder of Jones’s statement can be viewed at the FCS website. At press time, no public statement had been issued by Murphy. The full statement by Jones can be read here.

Murphy attended elementary school at Coolidge before going on to Whittier Middle School and Central High School. She began working for the district in the eleventh grade as a co-op student at the administration building in the deputy superintendent’s office.

Subsequent positions at FCS included: staff assistant and acting assistant director for Pupil Personnel Services; program director of Going to Grade 9; parent and community engagement coordinator; centralized enrollment coordinator; director of state, federal, and local programs; and interim assistant superintendent.

In a May 2022 interview with East Village Magazine (EVM), Murphy told readers her assistant superintendent duties included: “state and federal programs; technology; directing student and family services (enrollment); pupil accounting; and athletics.”

“I’ve never worked anywhere else but, in the district,” she told EVM. “Not only did I receive my education here, but I’ve always worked here since I was 15 years old.”

Three resignations in 13 days

Murphy became the third FCS central administrator to resign her position within two weeks. Her resignation followed those of Latisha Wolf, executive director of finance, whose resignation was announced at the FBOE Committee of the Whole Meeting on April 12, and Sharita Galloway, executive director of human resources, whose resignation was revealed in an April 15 resignation letter to Jones. All three resignations followed public dustups with some members of the Flint Board of Education (FBOE).

Wolf stepped down after an April 7 public-private matter between her and Relerford. “I would like you to address Dr. Wolf tonight,” a stern Relerford said to Jones. A short time later, Relerford conspicuously asked Jones about the deadline for renewal/nonrenewal of contracts.

In her resignation letter to Jones, Galloway wrote: “I have endured endless nights away from my family to stand witness to irrelevant bickering, physical, emotional, verbal violence and abuse at the hands of board members … I along with others of the executive team have been victims of thrashing to our personal and professional integrity and character without cause or remorse.”

In very unorthodox fashion, the FBOE voted 5-2 on Apr. 12 to approve an out-of-state trip by some 140 middle school students against the recommendation(s) of both central and building administrators who signaled that trip organizers were “not ready.” A clearly perturbed Murphy said: “This was not initiated properly in the beginning … The (trip) details are not as clear as they need to be … I’m challenged by the timeline … This is not how I do business.”

“We have a massive problem here,” said Luna. “We have no CFO (Chief Financial Officer); we have no person to manage our millions of ESSER, 31-A, and Title grants because that person is leaving; we have no H.R. (Human Resources) director; we have no one to chair the Finance and Operations Committee … That’s irresponsible.”

King removed as vice president
The motion to remove King as vice president was made by Perkins who said, “I think we need a little more grounded, mature, and seasoned person in that seat.”

FBOE Trustee Terae King. (Photo by Tom Travis)

Perkin’s motion to remove King was seconded by McNeal then approved by Perkins, McNeal, MacIntyre, and Relerford. Relerford has clearly abandoned her election slate mates – Clack, King, and Luna – that she ran with in the Nov. 2022 election.

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King’s immediate response: “It lets me know where folks are.” Later he told EVM, “A position does not define me … I’m committed to serve on this board until 2026 … It’s about moving this district forward for scholars.”

Luna said, “I admire his (King’s) voice, his tenacity, his temperament, and his focus on students and helping teachers.” Clack added: “I totally disagree with this motion … I don’t believe Vice President King has done anything wrong to deserve being unseated. I trust Vice President King; he’s very smart.”

King, 20, is about to graduate from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in political science; he has managed a local McDonalds restaurant for four years since the age of 17; he served as a student representative on the Carman-Ainsworth Board of Education for two years prior to high school graduation.

McNeal replaced King by the same 4-3 vote margin. The motion to install McNeal was made and seconded by Perkins and MacIntyre, respectively.

Attempt to replace Luna with MacIntyre short-circuited by charge of racism

An attempt to remove Luna from his position as FBOE treasurer and replace him with MacIntyre ultimately failed. King read a public statement, made available to EVM, alleging racist remarks made by MacIntyre at an April 3 conference in Orlando, FL.

The statement, made available to EVM, reads in part:

“I was targeted and blatantly disrespected by a colleague … Trustee Laura MacIntyre … referred to me as a ‘little boy’ and ‘little toddler’ several times. MacIntyre’s tone was demeaning and voice was elevated. This spectacle took place in front of Secretary Claudia Perkins, Trustee Joyce McNeal and Supt. Kevelin Jones … Based on the aggressive tone, it seemed that the intent of MacIntyre’s words were to disrespect and belittle me … As a black man born from relatives from the American South where the term ‘boy’ was used by whites to belittle black people, I am deeply offended by my colleague’s words and choice to see me as less than a man …MacIntyre’s words and behaviors reflect some deeply-rooted feelings and beliefs that should not be ignored.”

King’s full statement:

[King’s statement can be witnessed at the YouTube recording of the Apr. 25 meeting at about the 1:50 mark.]

MacIntyre is white; King is black. EVM sought a response to King’s charges from MacIntyre; no such response was available by press time.

“It’s racist, it’s ageist, and it’s ridiculous,” Luna said of MacIntyre’s language. “I’m just so incredibly disgusted with my colleague … This is a majority minority black district. We have a lot of black men who are the fathers of our students.” Luna also noted that three men of color are FBOE panelists. “The silence from my colleagues … is deafening,” he said.

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Relerford reported that MacIntyre privately admitted to her, “I was wrong.” After King read his statement, MacIntyre alleged that King’s account was riddled with “lies and inaccuracies.”

MacIntyre accused King of “badgering” and being the “aggressor … advancing on him physically.” She confirmed that she said to King, “Stop acting like a little boy.” MacIntyre said she apologized to King. “That was bad behavior,” she admitted.

“Certain words are offensive to a black man,” Clack responded. “You can’t put your feelings on how this man (King) feels.” Clack to King: “As a black man, brother, I know how you feel.” Clack to MacIntyre and McNeal who rallied to MacIntyre’s defense: “That was wrong. And anyone who accepts it … is wrong.”

When the vote to remove Luna and install MacIntyre as FBOE treasurer came to MacIntyre, she paused and said simply, “No, I decline.” In the end, the effort to remove Luna as treasurer and install MacIntyre in his place failed by a 5-2 vote; only Perkins and McNeal voted in favor.

MacIntyre has been involved in multiple confrontations with FCS officials – documented on audio and/or visual recordings, legal pleadings, and MacIntyre’s own statements – that have included: Diana Wright; Vera Perry; Joyce Ellis-McNeal; Carol McIntosh; Danielle Green; Anita Steward; Ayunna Dompreh; and now Terae King. All are African Americans.

EVM Education Beat reporter Harold C. Ford can be reached at

Author: Tom Travis

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