Michael Scott, Ally and Protector of The Invisible Ones

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

In a word, Michael Scott mattered.

His life was the ultimate world-class success story. Michael was a staunch Westsider who embraced the finer things yet reached back, went back, and, in fact, never left his roots or his commitment to society's invisible ones.

The invisible ones -- the disenfranchised Chicago Public School kids -- are presented as monsters, at worst, or mere shades of shame, at best. But these young people were not invisible to Michael Scott. He saw them clearly. In fact, he saw beyond their situations or the boulders that have blocked their ascension.

The disenfranchised children of Chicago Public Schools had an ally and protector in Michael Scott. He valued their potential, despite the odds, and wanted the CPS kids to have the best of the best, educational access and experiences that would, hopefully, clear the pathway to a more fruitful future.

Michael had one wish for Chicago's children: that they would create for themselves a life worth living. Think about that. What other public school official would insist that ballroom dancing become a part of the educational repertoire?

Years prior to being named board president, he served as the executive director of the Lawndale People's Planning & Action Conference. In that capacity, Michael helped to create commercial development.

His genuine heart, service and commitment is what makes his abrupt departure so unfair.

We can only hope that those who knew Michael Scott will pick up the torch and continue his quest to educate, protect and uplift the decidedly invisible ones who live among us.