Know Your Madisonian: Richard Scott Retires as minority services coordinator at Madison’s East High School

Ken Singletary:

Richard Scott, 58, has been minority services coordinator at Madison’s East High School for 34 years. He retires in June and will focus more on his artistic endeavors, including playwrighting, performing in musical groups and coordinating a step-dance group.
Will you miss the students?
Absolutely. I’m going to miss their energy. I’m going to miss their spontaneity. I’m going to miss their youthfulness. I receive their energy.
What do students want?
They need attention. They need respect. They need opportunities to express themselves … Not all minority students come from one point of reference. I look at them individually. I tell them ‘I love you all, but I love you all differently.’
You focus a lot on conflict resolution. How do you do that?
I try to initiate a discussion based on commonalities … If you have a conflict with someone, you have a commonality, something to build on. … I try not to solve problems for students but give them the tools by which they can transform conflicts into something positive. I’m not saying ‘You’re going to forget what happened, but you’re going to go beyond what happened.’… A lot of young people are very emotional, very reactive in their processes, and I want them to think about it. … I truly enjoy when students who are very, very angry see a situation differently. If they can be something else, something else than what people have told them they are, then we’ve done our job.