Norward Roussell, who served as an administrator at Dillard University in New Orleans and was superintendent of several public school system in the South, died on October 14 in Selma, Alabama. He was 80 years old.
A native of New Orleans and the son of a Negro Leagues baseball player, Roussell was the youngest of seven children. His father died when he was eight. His brothers and sisters worked to send Norward and his twin Norman to Dillard University. The twins both majored in biology and went on to earn master’s degrees at Fisk University in Nashville, and doctorates in education from Wayne State University in Detroit.
After working in the New Orleans public schools, in 1987 Dr. Roussell was appointed the first Black school superintendent in Selma. Three years later, the school board, voting along strict racial lines, voted to dismiss Dr. Roussell from his job. Protests and demonstration occurred and Dr. Roussell was reinstated but he left at the end of his contract. He sued the school board for $10 million and reached a settlement for $150,000.
After leaving Selma, Dr. Roussell served as superintendent for Macon County Schools in Tuskegee and in the administration of Dillard University. He later served as interim superintendent of the New Orleans public schools system.