By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Since the year 2000, Mark Neal has called Millington Central High School his professional home. This fall Neal will take the next step in his education career as principal of Melrose High School. “I was appointed as the new principal of Melrose High School,” Neal said. “The transition is still in the works as for when I officially take over at Melrose. But I know the position become effective July 1.” The move to Melrose in Memphis will end a more than 14 year tenure for Neal at the home of the Trojans. Neal served as a teacher and coach before joining the MCHS administrative team six years ago. Three years ago, Neal was named the principal of MCHS. “My roots are here,” he said. “This has been home. The community and school has been wonderful. They have welcomed me with open arms since the fall of 2000 being a Munford graduate, a big rival of Millington. “But they’ve welcomed me and I’ve worked really hard here,” Neal added. “I think I’ve earned the respect of the community and they’ve earned my respect as a community.” Now Neal will have to make the transition from Flag City to Orange Mound. Melrose is located almost in the middle of the city of Memphis in the Orange Mound district. The home of the Golden Wildcats has produced famous graduates like basketball legend Larry Finch,NFL player Cedric Wilson and Food Network personality Patrick Neely. Neal said he is glad to have the chance to build on that legacy for Melrose High School. “It means a lot when you have community support,” he said. “As far as my decision goes, it’s longevity, security and thinking about my trajectory in the profession of education. I just think that Melrose right now is the best opportunity for me as an individual. “And at the same time a school I know a lot about from my old days a coach,” Neal concluded. “It’s a school I have a lot of respect for, the alumni and community. I look forward to being a part of Orange Mound and Melrose High School and leading them toward academic success.”