A local mentor and advocacy group is launching a new scholarship program to encourage black and Latino men to become teachers.
Three out of four teachers in the San Antonio area are women, and just four percent are black, according to state data.
My Brother’s Keeper San Antonio is accepting applications through Aug. 7, with the aim of placing 30 men in internships at area schools this school year while they obtain alternative teacher certification through Education Service Center Region 20. They need to have their bachelor’s degree to qualify.
State Representative Barbara Gervin-Hawkins recruited Toyota to pay for the first phase of the scholarship program.
“If you don’t see yourself in a particular field, then you don’t pursue it. So we’ve got to be very much more intentional, much more deliberate with our young people as we open the doors of career fields for them,” Gervin-Hawkins said.
Jaime Alexander, who grew up in San Antonio and earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Incarnate Word, plans to take advantage of the scholarship.
He said becoming teacher never occurred to him growing up, partly because he didn’t have very many male role models in school.
“I can think of one in my middle school: Mr. Jerrod. Super awesome guy,” Alexander said. “He listened to me, and that was the biggest thing.”
Sam Houston High School Principal Mateen Diop said he’s eager to hire as many teachers from the program as he can, because his students need more male role models, especially men of color.
“My students, when I talk to them, they think I’m a preacher or something like that, and I said, ‘Just because I wear a tie?’ Cause that’s all they see in the community,” Diop said.
Applicants recruited by My Brother’s Keeper should obtain their certification in time to teach during the 2019-2020 school year.
Camille Phillips can be reached at Camille@tpr.org or on Twitter @cmpcamille