April 7, 2021

Shirley Satterfield Middle School Would Be Crowning Achievement for Princeton

To the Editor:

What a crowning achievement it would be for the town of Princeton, the Board of Education, and of course the wonderful and beloved Shirley Satterfield to have the Princeton Middle School named after her. For much of her life she has been dedicated to serving others through her involvement in education as a guidance counselor where she has been a mentor to many students and parents. Through her active involvement in the Witherspoon Presbyterian Church, where she is a deacon and is responsible for ministering and looking out for 12 other church members, and is the adviser for the Junior Ushers Ministry. She is also the church historian, participates in three choirs, and serves on various committees.

Educationally Shirley spent 14 years at Hightstown High School where she taught seventh and eighth grade English and history, and was a guidance counselor. She then came to Princeton High School where she served as a guidance counselor for six years from 1993-2000 before retiring. That did not last long, because the school system called her back as a consultant where she continued to help students find career paths until 2006.

Shirley’s greatest love, her inspiration, and passion is the African American History that exists in the town of Princeton, and in particular the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, proudly Princeton’s 20th historic district thanks in large part to Shirley’s leadership with a core group of eight other committed soldiers, who worked tirelessly between 2014-2016 to make the historic designation a reality.  Shirley is the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood historian and has catalogued and captured the rich history of Black people in Princeton. In 2017 she founded the Witherspoon-Jackson Historical and Cultural Society, “Building our Future … Honoring our Past,” a community-based organization that is dedicated to the research, preservation, understanding, appreciation, and celebration of the rich and proud history of African Americans in Princeton. Shirley also conducts historical tours of the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood.

There has never been a school named after an African American in Princeton. All of the finalists are worthy. Shirley Satterfield, however, is 100 percent local and is “still here” actively involved, doing the work, showing and sharing the love, all the while being obedient to the call to serve others, and to do so with intellect, dignity, humility and grace.  She is deserving of this wonderful honor for so many reasons, in so many different ways.

The Shirley Satterfield Middle School … go tell it on the mountain!

Leighton Newlin
Birch Avenue