Of the 10,000 educators in Charlotte, fewer than 450 are male teachers of color. Of those male teachers of color in Charlotte, 27.2% will leave the profession after the first year.
In the 2015-16 school year, 96% of the male educators of color in the Profound Gentlemen network returned back into the field of education.
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Profound Gentlemen improves low retention for male educators of color through direct peer mentorship, professional development, and community gatherings for male educators of color.
Research has shown having men of color as role models and mentors greatly improves the social, emotional, and academic progress of all students, especially boys of color. However, boys of color are rarely exposed to men of color in the classroom.
Mario Jovan Shaw and Jason Terrell, the founders of Profound Gentlemen, saw this first hand as middle school teachers in Charlotte. “Relationships between male teachers of color and boys are so important,” said Terrell. “Each day, a young man named Jaylen came into my classroom to talk and share. Meanwhile, in my first year, I sought the mentorship of a veteran male teacher of color who helped me understand my purpose in education. Profound Gentlemen creates this environment where more male teachers of color have that critical mentor and can, in turn, impact boys of color.”
After launching Profound Gentlemen in 2014, Shaw and Terrell each received the prestigious Echoing Green fellowship that recognizes and supports social entrepreneurs globally.
To become connected to PG, male teachers of color download the Profound Gentlemen App and can communicate with over 500 male educators of color from around the nation. Each member attends bi-monthly on-line gatherings with a small ‘impact cohort’ and is encouraged to lead a student group. 87% of the Profound Gentlemen educators reported using resources provided from Profound Gentlemen in their practice.
PG has local programming in three cities: Charlotte, Chicago and Memphis, and has a special emphasis on connecting educators in the same feeder school pipeline in these cities.
Now in their third year, Terrell reports “our goal is to increase the number of teachers in our membership, while also making sure each has the support he needs to stay in education.”
In 2016, The Belk Foundation invested $50,000 in Profound Gentlemen.