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“I Belong in 7” Story Series
Each one, reach one; Each one, teach one; Each one, help one.
Ouida Black, Assistant Principal for the McCarthy Teszler School, heard her priest share these words from an early age and they have become her personal motto in life. She says, “In District 7, we strive to reach, to teach, and to help as we inspire and equip. We are to do this in every aspect of every life that abides in D7, for students and adults. Because this is so, I belong in 7.”
Life is a powerful tool for inspiration, and this has been especially evident in Ouida’s career. She would tell you much of who she is and where she is today is due to the intentional guidance and compassionate mentorship of retired D7 educator Virginia Jones. “Virginia has guided and mentored me for my whole life. She has been my constant. I have so much love, admiration, and respect for her. Certainly, her love and nurturing of children has inspired me.”
Ouida met Virginia in Greensboro, NC when Ouida was a kindergartener and Virginia was attending college there. “She became almost like a big sister to me. When I was in first grade, I traveled alone on a Greyhound bus to Spartanburg to be a flower girl in Virginia’s wedding.” Their connection led Ouida to enroll at Converse College, where she earned a degree in education and received the special education award her senior year. After 21 years as a self-contained special education teacher at Cowpens Elementary, where she was selected as District 3’s Teacher of the Year, Ouida and Virginia came together for a shadowing assignment as Ouida was completing her Spartanburg County Administrator’s Cohort. Virginia was principal at Whitlock Junior High at the time, and Ouida spent the day shadowing her. “On this day, those students sparked a fire that I did not know was there. Not being limited to a classroom and being able to interact with all of the students in the building was an opportunity to see the impact I could make as an administrator. As I left that afternoon, I felt moved to walk back to the building and lay my hands on the bricks. I whispered a prayer to be able to return to that building to work with the students there.”
After completing her cohort and interviewing for a new assistant principal position at Whitlock, Ouida received just that opportunity. “Virginia called my home that night and asked to speak to the ‘next Assistant Principal of Whitlock Jr. High School’. What was most special about the call was her saying she did not know that when she met me as a kindergartner it was for this purpose to become her Assistant Principal. I will never forget that.”
When Whitlock closed as a junior high school and became the Flexible Learning Center, Ouida found a new home in District 7. “Because of my special education background and administration experience, I was right for McCarthy Teszler - or better yet, McCarthy Teszler was right for me. Here, I have the best of both worlds. I have returned to my first love of serving special needs students and am in a position to advocate for what is best for their needs. I can also support the staff who are on the frontline giving service to the students and their families.”
Born into a family of many renowned educators throughout the Southeast, Ouida says it is in her blood. Her daughter, Tenille Black, is a teaching assistant for McCarthy Teszler. “I have been a working retiree since 2011,” she says. “I do have plans to retire/’graduate’ in 2026 with my granddaughter who is a student at Spartanburg High School. Although, I have a hard time even imagining retirement. At that time, I will have 42 years in and my retired husband says it will then be time for us.”
Appreciation for young people, service before self, and family is clearly a theme in Ouida’s life. When she is not at McCarthy Teszler, she can often be spotted at her church – teaching Sunday School, participating in various ministries, and singing in the choir. Her speaking voice is also beautiful, and for several years she has read aloud a portion of the Declaration of Independence during Spartanburg’s Red, White, and Boom celebration on the Fourth of July.
Rene Ford, principal of McCarthy Teszler, says it’s an honor and a privilege to serve alongside Ouida. “She could be retired but she chooses to stay and make a difference. Ouida is a champion for students. She is an excellent organizer, methodical in her thinking, and her attention to detail is phenomenal. She is so compassionate towards others and is the ‘go to’ person for many at MTS. Her thoughtfulness and wisdom make working with her a joy.”