When Beverly Hills High School welcomed a skinny boy from the other side of the tracks, no one knew just how life-changing the decision would be, not just for Carter Paysinger but for all of Beverly Hills.
Carter grew up hearing his parents say, “Don’t just strive to be good. Always strive to be great.” He dreamed of finding greatness in playing professional baseball or becoming a black Donald Trump, but fate had different plans and, ultimately, he found his calling as a teacher and coach at the school that once embraced him, becoming a rock for the innumerable kids who came seeking an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. One such kid, a scrappy Jewish boy from a prominent family, would change the course of Carter’s life. His name was Steven Fenton.
Twenty years later, as Beverly Hills High fell into disarray—with principals hired and fired and families fleeing the school—as well as his own life coming apart, Carter ran into Steven Fenton again. Together, they found renewed passion and hope to fight for their school and test the limits of what community means. But when Steven convinced Carter to throw his hat into the ring as principal, the progressive Beverly Hills suddenly thought that its winningest and most beloved coach didn’t fit the profile for the Beverly Hills image. It was the beginning of a long road, but Carter could hear his father saying, “Don’t listen to those voices. Do what you have to do.”
Filled with hope, triumph, and the struggles that come to define us, Where a Man Stands is a beautiful fish-out-of-water story about the families formed in unlikely places and how, in the end, where you stand, and with whom, and for what, matters as much as anything.
Carter Paysinger has served Beverly Hills High School for over thirty years as a teacher, coach, department chairperson, athletic director, and principal. In Carter’s first year as the principal, Beverly Hills High School earned its highest API academic ranking in the history of the school. Carter is currently also the president-elect of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section, the governing board of high school sports for the entire state of California. Carter lives in Los Angeles with Karen, his wife, and their son, Chandler.
Steven Fenton began his career in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency and worked in Hollywood as a talent manager for over twenty years. In 2007 he ran for the Beverly Hills Board of Education and won by the widest margin in the school board’s history, eventually becoming the youngest person ever to be elected president of the board of education. He currently partners with his wife, Leeza Gibbons, running their production company, Leeza Gibbons Enterprises. They live in Beverly Hills.
“An inspirational must-read, Where a Man Stands is about human connection, rising above barriers, and seeing beyond the surface. It’s an uplifting tale that shows us what is possible when we take a stand.”
“Where a Man Stands is one of those books that is impossible to put down! The only way I can try to understand Carter’s experience is to reminisce about a championship fight in 1981 against Tommy Hearns when my left eye was closed shut and the temperature in the ring in Las Vegas was 100 degrees. It's during those moments in our lives that we question, do we proceed and reach for respect and equality or do we quit? Carter answered, and it’s a victory for all of us!”
"Where a Man Stands will inspire by example and bring tears of happiness to those who honor and admire achieving great success out of the mouth of adversity."
"If you believe that a single person can change the course of your life, this book is for you. Carter and Steven’s friendship and their willingness to put everything on the line for one another is remarkable. Where a Man Stands is a winner."
"It's an inspiring story about race and class, fear and stereotypes, about character, integrity, and a 'no quit' attitude. . . . Readers from every walk of life will benefit from this story of family solidarity, firm friendships, and perseverance."
"Where a Man Stands provides a powerful and heartwarming story of race, class, and friendship in Beverly Hills, California, where character triumphs over prejudice and hope for a post-racial society remains eternal. Readers will enthusiastically stand with Paysinger and Fenton as they break down racial barriers and implement educational reforms at Beverly Hills High School."
“I have known Carter and Steven for over four decades.Their inspirational story proves that the measure of a man lies in where he stands when circumstances are far from ideal.”
“Where a Man Stands is an inspiring story of friendship and the challenges in life. Carter and Steven prove that if given a chance you can accomplish your dreams with hard work, perseverance, courage, and faith.”
“When someone's life is at a crossroad, you can be the blessing that puts them on the correct path. At a pivotal point in my life,Carter was this blessing for me. Providing me with genuine love, guidance, and a sense of belonging—family.”