First Black Superintendent of Flint Schools Nathel Burtley Dies of COVID-19 at 79

Gracious Egedegbe
Apr 15, 2020
11:30 P.M.

The first black superintendent of Flint Schools, Nathel Burtley, recently died after suffering from the novel coronavirus.


The world is currently experiencing a health crisis due to the continuous spread of COVID-19. Many people have been infected with the disease.

While some have been lucky enough to recover, others have lost their lives due to the complication that arose during treatments.

Corona virus close up | Photo : Getty Images

Corona virus close up | Photo : Getty Images

Sadly, renowned educator, 79-year-old Nathel, was on admission at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint for more than two weeks before passing away.

During his lifetime, he passionately focused on impacting his surroundings with his educational ideas. In describing his focus on segregation issues, his son, Chris, said that:

"He didn't have a white classmate until college. His mom couldn't read or write, and he grew up in a house with no electricity."


Nathel, who had a speech problem as a child, majored in speech pathology. The 79-year-old then focused on helping children with speech problems to aid easy learning.


Chris mentioned that his dad's background propelled him to look out for every child with a learning disability. As the first black superintendent who ascended office in 1988, he tried to put himself in the shoes of his students to understand them better.

For the Burtleys, self-isolation and social distancing is vital at a time like this.

The deceased didn't have his father around as he grew up but he had his loving mother instill great values in him and she taught him to embrace his abilities and overcome obstacles. According to him:


"My mother reminded me: You know what I've taught you, you should be somebody."

The family of the deceased has expressed their grief but made it clear of the importance of continuing to observe the due recommendations by health agencies to curb the spread of the global health pandemic.

For the Burtleys, self-isolation and social distancing is vital at a time like this. Chris further expressed that COVID-19 is real and should not be trivialized.


Mr. Nathel wasn't only a superintendent; he was committed to helping out in other programs in his Alma mater, Michigan State University, where he received an alumni honorary award.

Burks is another Flint legend who lost his life after combating COVID-19. He was the director of the Flint Urban League and was involved in Special Olympics, March of Dimes and the Red Cross.

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