College program helping African-American males become teachers

By Brittany Jones - WJAX TV

There is a new push from a local college to get more teachers inside local classrooms.

The "Call Me Mister" program at Edward Waters College is designed to get more African-American men in schools as teachers.

"It's pretty much a big game-changer in my life," said Bernard Agurs, the first "Call Me Mister"graduate.

Soon he'll be changing the lives of students.

From mentor to certified teacher, Agurs says he learned one thing is essential.

"The need of black males in the classroom," Agurs said.

Agurs said having a mentor is important to many children's success. He credits part of his own accomplishments to one teacher.

"I had one black male teacher -- just one. He's the one I remember the most," Agurs said.

That's why he became a part of the Edward Waters College "Call Me Mister" scholarship program which places black male educators in Duval County elementary schools.

As the first graduate of the program, Agurs already has an offer to teach.

"It's pretty much a high standard I have to uphold and I'm willing to do that," Agurs said.

According to the Department of Education, African-American men make up 2 percent of the 4.8 million educators across the nation.

Less than 1 percent of them are in elementary schools.

Agurs says putting on the "Call Me Mister" blazer at graduation is just the beginning. The real work starts now.

"I've had excellent role models in my life and I want to be one that can make a difference in a child's life," Agurs said.

May 10, 2015

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