37-year-old Autumn Adkins of Richmond, Virginia is continuing to make history as she serves as the President of Girard College, an academy in Philadelphia that was formerly a whites-only institution for boys.
Girard College, an academy that now serves both male and female students from 1st grade to 12th grade, had been exclusively run by white men since its inception in 1848 including Benjamin Franklin’s great-grandson who was the first head of the school.
Most of the school’s 620 students are Black and half are female. All of the students come from low income families headed by single parent or guardian.
President Adkins is known to host “family meals” are her home to allow her students to get to know her better.
She tells the Associated Press that she strives to give her students an education that compliments who they really are.
“I’ve learned an enormous amount from the students. They’re interesting, they’re thoughtful, they’re inquisitive — they deserve the kind of education that complements that.”
Adkins plans on expanding the school curriculum, modernizing facilities and increasing teacher salaries.