In Good Company- Maceo Rainey
Photograph by Nels Akerlund Photography + Video
Rockford Public Library - Downtown Branch
215 N Wyman Rd., Rockford
Maceo Rainey worked his way up to his position as principal of Rockford's West Middle School.
If he included all the education-related jobs he's had on a resume, the list would start with bus driver and crossing guard. The professional roles are teacher, dean of students, department chairperson, assistant principal, and the principal of elementary, alternative, middle and high schools.
A native of North Carolina who grew up in Chicagoland, Rainey appreciates Rockford for its diversity, inclusion and opportunity. "My family has continued to call Rockford home simply because of the opportunities for growth and expansion in a variety of segments from within the community," he says.
Rainey sees his role at West as providing "the next generation of Rockford taxpayers with the education and job skills to be successful in the 21st Century..." He would not have that opportunity, he says, without the contributions of other black Rockford leaders, going back to city founder Lewis Lemon and including the "firsts" and other achievements of such current names as Estelle Black, Michael Williams, Charles Box, Judge Gwen Gulley, Henrietta-Dotson Williams, Victory Bell, Chuck Jefferson, Ann Thompson-Kelly and Dr. Litesa Wallace.
"We stand on their shoulders, reaping the benefits of seeds sown by these outstanding trailblazers and bridge-builders," Rainey says. "These individuals have made it possible for a young African-American Rockfordian like myself and 39,000 other African-Americans who call Rockford home to have access to the American dream within our city."
If you look closely at Rainey, you will see the young students who already have climbed onto his shoulders.
(Written by Geri Nikolai)