The Call Me MISTER program at Clemson University began in 2000 with the goal of placing more teachers from diverse cultures and backgrounds in the classroom.
Now, 10 years later, the program has graduated 60 Misters who are teaching in South Carolina schools. MISTER stands for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models.
“Ten years ago fewer than 200 African-American males were teaching in elementary schools in South Carolina. As we continue to expand it is likely that nine out of every 10 black males preparing to teach at the elementary school level are Misters,” said program director Roy Jones. “We are meeting a very real need.”The program has expanded to 14 colleges in South Carolina, in which 145 students are enrolled. Nearly 100 students are enrolled in the program in six additional states: Florida, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Missouri and Georgia.
“It is significant to note that we are still on a journey,” Jones said. “Few programs can sustain for 10 years. Our growth is due to our success in galvanizing support in both the private and public sectors.”
Call Me MISTER has drawn the attention of national media and professional organizations. Jones said the program is regularly contacted for counsel on the critical issue of diversity in the classroom. The program is marking its 10th anniversary with a luncheon and summit for supporters and partners on Friday and Saturday.
The keynote speaker for the summit is Dr. Rashid Buttar, founder of the Center for Advanced Medicine and Clinical Research.