NSU launches Call Me MISTER program

Northwestern State University’s School of Education is launching a program to recruit minority males to become leaders in education. The Call Me MISTER program is intended to increase the pool of teachers from more diverse backgrounds to work as teachers, administrators, role models and mentors, particularly at low-performing schools. The first cohort of students will begin the program in the Fall 2020 semester.

“Only two percent of America’s public school teachers are African American men, according to the U.S. Department of Education, but there is a place for African American male teachers in our schools and classrooms,” said Ramona Wynder, interim director of clinical experiences. “African American men need to be viewed in positive contexts and what better place for that to happen than in our schools. This program has the potential to change lives.”

Founded and headquartered at Clemson University in 2000 and led by Executive Director Dr. Roy Jones, the mission of Call Me MISTER is to recruit and support African American males in becoming highly effective elementary school teachers. MISTER is an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. As a Call Me MISTER campus, NSU will be part of a highly acclaimed recruitment and support program that includes a national network of universities.

Jones acknowledged NSU’s partnership by stating, “Clemson University is proud to add Northwestern State University to its expanding national network of impressive institutions committed to this mission and shared vision toward diversifying the teacher force in support of all children.”

Wynder applied for and was awarded the Freeport McMoRan Endowed Professorship to fund the process for NSU to become a CMM partner institution. The professorship is dedicated to the recruitment and retention of minority teacher candidates.

“I think it shows our commitment to diversifying the teaching force and responding to the needs of the communities we serve,” she said.

Five Misters will be selected each academic year who receive the academic, social and financial support and training needed to become effective classroom teachers and leaders, Wynder said. Scholarships will cover the cost of tuition and fees, books and housing expenses not covered by other financial aid the Misters would qualify for.

Wynder will attend the annual Call Me MiSTER Leadership Institute at Clemson University in June where she will network with CMM program directors from other institutions. She is also collaborating with Ashlee Hewitt, director of University Recruiting, on the project.

“Recruiting is essential to the success of this program,” Wynder said.

“Research shows that teachers of color boost the academic performance of students of color,” Wynder said. “Increasing teacher diversity is important for closing achievement gaps.”

“We are thrilled to take part in this program to increase the number of African American male teachers and role models for our children,” said NSU President Dr. Chris Maggio. “We welcome the opportunity to support these future teachers and look forward to their contributions to their communities.”

For more information, contact Wynder at wynderr@nsula.edu or (318) 357-4549.