‘I was very confident in myself:’ Recognizing the first Black female teacher at St. Cloud High School

News 6 is honoring and celebrating influential and impactful leaders for Black History Month

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – News 6 is honoring and celebrating influential and impactful Black leaders all month, including the contributions made by 79-year-old Deloris McMillon of Osceola County.

The retired educator of almost 40 years broke racial barriers as the first Black female teacher at St. Cloud High School in 1969 after schools were integrated.

“I was very confident in myself,” McMillon said. “They [the staff] had a problem with integration. I didn’t have a problem. They had a problem with me being Black.”

She told News 6 how she felt she was even denied higher level positions during that time solely because of her race.

“In applying for an administrative position, I was well qualified,” McMillon said. “And I would go home and cry to my husband ‘Oh, I was overlooked again.’”

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She went on to say, “It hurt my feelings, but I wasn’t upset.”

Her dreams came true years later, becoming an assistant principal at Osceola High school, then the principal at Parkway Middle School where she later retired in 2003.

She was also the first Black female basketball coach in Osceola County, leading St. Cloud High to many victories.

She said one thing that came naturally was giving back and making sure all of her students got an equal education.

“I treated the white students and the Black students the same,” McMillon said. “They often said I did what the guidance counselors didn’t do. The guidance counselor never approached the Black students. I put them in contact with a lot of colleges, showed them how to fill out their applications.”

Dr. Amanda Wilkerson is the newly elected president of the Osceola NAACP branch.

She’s making it her mission this Black History Month to highlight influential and impactful Black leaders, something the staff at the Chambers Park Community Center in Kissimmee is doing too.

“I’m excited to highlight the work of Nadia Winston, who is the principal at Central Elementary. She matters. Lisa Jackson, a Black female business owner who does construction, she matters.”

“We want to bring more visibility to the robust African American community that we have,” Dr. Wilkerson said.

Dr. Wilkerson is also a UCF assistant professor who teaches educational leadership courses for graduate students.

She told News 6 she wants to make sure Black history is preserved.

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About the Author:

Jerry Askin is an Atlanta native who came to News 6 in March 2018 with an extensive background in breaking news.