When Miami-Dade schools were being integrated in the early 1970s, Ray Turner was one of those principals who didn’t have to go out and find more minority faculty to meet hiring mandates.
He had already done it years before, but not because he had to.
“He was color blind,” said Elaine Kenzel, who served as his assistant principal at Palmetto High School, where Turner was principal from 1972-1976
“It wasn’t a numbers game for Ray. He hired the right people,” Kenzel said. “He was one of a couple of educators — and he was an educator in the full meaning of the word — who was truly insightful.”
Turner, 78, died in hospice Friday in his hometown of Mount Dora.
A native Floridian, Turner was a career educator in Miami-Dade, working as a teacher, faculty member and band director at schools from Homestead to Miami Springs. He retired in 1992 as a district superintendent.
Turner , who played trombone, was a member of the Marching Chiefs at Florida State University, which he attended from 1952-56. During that time, he met his wife, Susan. They are survived by four children: Scott, David, Sharon and Karen.
“He loved music,” Susan Turner said. “He loved going to the theater. He loved traveling. We spent many years camping with our children and grandchildren. But most of all he loved his family.”