LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Jefferson County Board of Education approved a proposal to rename Buechel Metropolitan High School the Minor Daniels Academy in honor of a former JCPS teacher and administrator who was actively involved in the community for many years.

"Mr. Daniels was passionate about transforming the community so that everyone would have an opportunity to better themselves," said Michael Raisor, the chief operations officer for Jefferson County Public Schools, in the rationale given to school board members. 

The school board voted 6-0, with board chairman David Jones Jr. absent. Daniels' wife, Jessie Daniels, and sister, Jewell Daniels, were in attendance and received a standing ovation from the crowd.

In March, the school board approved a plan to merge Kennedy Metro and Buechel Metro and make other changes at Breckinridge Metro High, Liberty High and the Phoenix School of Discovery. 

District officials believe the changes will better meet the needs of individual students, as well as reduce the drop-out rate and increase the graduation rate of the district's alternative students as well as help ensure safe and orderly environments in the district's other schools.

Daniels served as a teacher at Meyzeek Middle School and as an administrator in various positions including director of community organization and neighborhood operations where he assisted in establishing Neighborhood Stations now named Neighborhood Places. He was also instrumental in establishing the addition of the United Negro College Fund as a donation option for JCPS employees, Raisor said.

He grew up in the Russell and Portland neighborhoods and graduated from Louisville Male High School. He attended Kentucky State College (now Kentucky State University) and earned a bachelor's degree from Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Ark., and a master's degree from Indiana University.

Daniels retired from the district in 2003, returned to the district two years later as an assistant principal at JCPS middle and high schools. In 2008, he was assigned to be an assistant principal at Shawnee High School, but he suffered a stroke and died in July 2008.

"Minor Ulysses Daniels was a 'gentle giant' of six feet, four inches who was always considered an impressive figure when entering a room, being noticed in a crowd or speaking to or in a group," reads a nine-page recommendation letter submitted by Jessie Daniels.

"Having knowledge of urban issues and an educational background and experience in working with children and youth with various kinds of urban problems, the renaming of the district's merged alternative schools to Minor Daniels Academy is most appropriate," she said. "Using the name Minor Daniels Academy will not only honor Minor, but also will indicate to the community that JCPS recognizes and respects an African American educator who was known and respected by children, youth and adults."

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

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