AU on a mission to recruit more African-American teachers

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Marcus Allen, principal at Grovetown Middle School, is hoping more African-American teachers join him. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta University says they are on a mission to recruit more African-American male teachers.

It's a big initiative by the university that is spreading statewide. There is research to prove this is needed.

According to AU, there is only one African-American male student teaching candidate of the 50 in their program.

But it’s not just AU trying to tackle this issue. Local principal Marcus Allen understands it all too well.

Allen wouldn’t be the principal of Grovetown Middle School without advice from an AU professor who looked like him.

"He really focused on that while the African-American culture was focused on progressing financially, that the way we bring a whole group with you is to influence them,” Allen said. “One way to do that is education."

He’s an influence for his students, and a face often missing in schools across our nation. Just 2 percent of all teachers are African-American.

It’s why Dr. Kristy Brown is pushing this initiative in the first place. She saw the impact in a 3rd grader.

"He pulled out a picture of President Obama,” Brown said. “He goes, 'Look, I'm gonna be somebody, because he looks like me.’"

So AU is taking that idea to teaching to change the landscape in the classroom.

"That's not just crucial to identify and for representation, but it's crucial for others to learn from diverse people,” Brown said.

If anyone is seeing that first-hand, it’s Allen – an example of the change that could be on the way.

“If we don't have a pipeline of educators to be able to have representation, and it doesn't start with our local university it will not happen.”

Local school districts are taking on this issue, too. Aiken County has a program named Call Me Mister that helps to create a path for interested students to get jobs as teachers in the school district.

AU is hosting a summit in March to get the best ideas from our area and get to work.

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