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Profound Gentlemen Reports Success in Retaining Black Male Teachers

Gwendolyn Glenn
Profound Gentlemen founders, Mario Jovan Shaw (r) and Jason Terrell

After one year of providing professional development and other support to African-American male teachers, the founders of the group Profound Gentlemen say their work is paying off.

Former CMS teachers Mario Shaw and Jason Terrell founded Profound Gentlemen last year as a way to increase the retention rate of African-American male teachers. Terrell says of their more than 500 members nationwide—about 100 are in Charlotte—96 percent are returning this school year.

“This compares to 65% of men of color who are not members of Profound Gentlemen,” Terrell said.

Terrell and Shaw say they lost 5 teachers in Charlotte, but most are still in education.

Credit Gwendolyn Glenn

“We did lose a couple of guys who went to Chicago and other places to teach. A lot of that was because those schools are more competitive in terms of their recruiting, pay was higher and they had more autonomy in their schools,” Terrell said.

Shaw added, “We gained some other guys from other regions, so the numbers evened out.”

A big reason black men leave the classroom is they often are the only male or person of color at their school and feel isolated. Through Profound Gentlemen, they are assigned to small groups where they can connect with other black male teachers by text, computer or phone daily when they have problems.

Nationwide, only 2 percent of all teachers are African-American men. It’s 5 percent in CMS, or 519 teachers…that’s down six from last year.