DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- The North Carolina Central University School of Education announced a new program to increase the number of minority male teachers.
The U.S. Department of Education reports that African American men make up only about 2 percent of the nation's educators.
In 2012, there were 7,902,490 African American students across the nation compared to only 230,194 African American teachers.
NCCU's Marathon Teaching Institute aims to fix that.
"The NCCU Marathon Teaching Institute responds to diversity needs in education, while also preparing students for academic and career success," Audrey W. Beard, Ed.D., NCCU School of Education dean, said in a statement. "Through mentorship and strategic programming and partnerships, the School of Education will increase its efforts to produce educators to make an impact in local communities that need teachers from diverse backgrounds, especially minority male role models."
Five students were formally inducted on Aug. 22.
To be selected for the program, individuals must be a minority male student majoring in education or counseling willing to participate in community service projects. Students also must possess a cumulative 2.7 GPA or higher and meet all NCCU Teacher Education Program requirements.
Cameron Emery, a junior elementary education major from Champaign, Ill.; Miles Turmon, a senior elementary education major from Easley, S.C.; Chester Crowder, a senior elementary education major from Raleigh, N.C. and Marquay Spencer-Gibbs a junior English major from Engelhard, N.C. were all chosen to participate.
Crowder and Turmon are recipients of a $25,000 scholarship from the Schmook Family Opportunity Scholarship.
"So there's always just me or his sister here. He doesn't have the male role model in the home," said Chapel Hill resident Keyonda Alston.
Her 10-year-old son, Keyon used to have that role model at school. When he did, she saw his grades and attitude toward learning improve. The fourth grader is a student attending Chapel Hill- Carrboro Public Schools.
"He always came home enthused. Always happy. Oh, Mr. Bowden said this. We did this in class. We talked about this. He was really happy about that," said Alston.
This year, Keyon has no Black male teachers and that's something that's not uncommon.
National numbers show Black males make up only two percent of the teacher workforce. In Raleigh, Wake County Public Schools tell me of its 11,059 teachers only 315 are Black males.
In Durham Public Schools of 2,500 teachers and certified instructional staff, 277 are Black males.
In the Sandhills, Cumberland County Schools has a total of 3,917 teachers and staff, 283 are Black men.
"We feel it's extremely important that African American children have a representation of themselves so they can correlate and relate to educational experiences but also life experiences outside the classroom," said Quintin Murphy, Chief Recruitment and Retention Officer in Education at North Carolina Central University.
Murphy launched the Marathon Teaching Institute on campus aimed at recruiting and retaining Black males majoring in education.
He said the campus organization plans to retain graduates by holding professional development workshops working with alumni and support groups to keep them engaged. Five males are in the pilot program to start including elementary education major Miles Turmon who says this is about educating his community.
"I can give them tools and principles they aren't getting. Things from my perspective that can help lead and guide them," said Turmon.