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New program focuses on recruiting African-American male educators

Brandon Crockett encourages other African-American men to pursue teaching.Senior Brandon Crockett exudes a passion for education in everything he does.

Although he’s set to graduate with his bachelor’s degree in middle grades education this spring, his journey to finding his passion came with some bumps along the way.

“I actually started out as a creative writing major at  Georgia College, but that just wasn’t something I could see myself doing years from now. After much thought and soul searching, I decided to change my major to education,” said Crockett. “Teaching others is where I found my fit and a career that I can see myself doing for many years.”

His draw to education came from his deep desire to help people in problem-solving as well as life decisions.

“As an African-American male, I can see the positive impact I can have on students in the classroom,” said Crockett. “We have an opportunity to show students, especially young African-American students, that they can have role models other than entertainers or athletes, and by being a role model for them, they can understand the importance of getting an education.”

Georgia College’s College of Education has launched a new program that aims to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader and more diverse background. The Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) program at Georgia College is the first of its kind in the state. The program’s launch is the result of years of preparation and hard work from various faculty & staff members throughout the College of Education and the university at-large.

“There is a great need for more African-American teachers of both genders, but especially males,” said Crockett. “This program’s goal is to increase those opportunities, and to me, that’s a good thing.”

In the Call Me MISTER program, student participants are largely selected from among under-represented populations, with a targeted focus on African-American males. Program benefits include financial assistance, residential living environments, mentorship through peer cohort programs and an intensive learning and hands-on training to become transformative educators.

“Education is perhaps the most powerful and transformative tool that we have at our disposal,” said Emmanuel Little, program director. “I can still remember the impact that certain teachers had not only upon my retention of the subject matter being taught, but also on my entire worldview. Unfortunately, there are very few instances where I had an instructor who resembled me. The goal of Call Me MISTER is to change that.”

Little is currently recruiting the first cohort of students in the program at Georgia College for fall 2015.

“Given that African-American males account for only 2 percent of teachers nationwide, the mission of Call Me MISTER is imperative toward pushing a paradigm shift in how we see educators, the subjects they teach and most importantly, the children being taught,” said Little. “I fully expect Georgia College’s Call Me MISTER program to produce talented teachers who will become leaders for transformational change throughout school systems in the state of Georgia.”

Call Me MISTER was founded at Clemson University in 2000. The program serves students at 18 participating colleges in South Carolina and eight national partner institutions, including Georgia College.

“Teaching is a great opportunity to uplift and instruct students,” said Crockett. “You can see the progress they make and help them understand the value of education. Teaching is a tremendous opportunity that I am proud to have.”

For more information on Call Me MISTER, contact emmanuel.little@gcsu.edu or visit gcsu.edu/callmemister.

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