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Representation in the classroom is a crucial component in the academic success of Black youth. South Carolina State University received a boost to advance their efforts towards recruiting and retaining more African American male teachers, WOLO reported.

The Orangeburg-based historically Black college received a $90,000 grant to develop the school’s Call Me MiSTER program. Launched in 2000 at Clemson University,  Benedict College, Claflin University and Morris College, the initiative has been implemented at collegiate institutions across 10 states to cultivate pathways for Black men who want to pursue careers in education while filling the gap when it comes to the lack of diversity within the teaching workforce. The program provides tuition assistance, academic help, an ecosystem of social support, and job placement opportunities.

Dr. Rashad Anderson—who is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at South Carolina State University and is the campus director for the institution’s Call Me MiSTER program—says he’s excited to work with scholars who will use their experiences, commitment to empowering youth, and innovation to transform the landscape of education. “We are one of the top HBCUs in the country that educates African American male teachers,” he said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “I am truly honored to work with some of the most brilliant, creative future Black male educators who are so powerful that one MiSTER can transform an entire school’s culture.”

Dr. Thelma Sojouner, who serves as the program director, spoke about the importance of Black youth seeing themselves reflected within their teachers. “There is a tremendous need for children to see young men coming in and working in the schools,” she said.

News about the grant comes a year after North Carolina Central University launched an initiative dubbed the Marathon Teaching Institute, which was created to address the racial gaps in educational leadership by empowering more Black men to pursue careers in teaching.


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