Anderson Oconee Pickens
release prepared by the Office of Public Relations and Marketing.
Rebecca Eidson, Director, 646-1507, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Garrett, Public Relations Associate, 646-1506, email@example.com
Tri-County’s First MISTER to Transfer to Clemson
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/5/2006
PENDLETON --- Looking back, 26-year-old Tony Webb can recall only a
handful of male teachers during his elementary or middle school years.
The educational landscape is similar today, but the Call Me MISTER program
is looking to change the face of education in America by putting more
African American males in the classroom as teachers and role models.
The first group of MISTERS graduated from Clemson in 2004, and Tri-County accepted five men, including Webb, into the program two years ago.
Webb always wanted to be an elementary school teacher but was discouraged by the starting pay for teachers. He entered a more lucrative major, Computer Technology, but was re-energized about the teaching profession after finding the Call Me MISTER program on the Internet.
"The program lured me back to education. I've always wanted to be a teacher. I was a teacher cadet in high school. And now I'm pursuing that goal," he said. This fall he will transfer to Clemson as part of the partnership. As academic coach for these young men, Dr. Gwen Owens, dean of the Arts and Sciences Division, actively recruits for the program. "I work closely with department heads and advisors to get the word out. And our young men are great ambassadors for the program."
"I'm involved with the Clemson MISTERS," said Webb, "and we're able to travel to meetings, like a National Education Association convention in Washington, DC, to meet other program participants and graduates and to talk about our experiences. We all have a common bond, and I've received encouragement from those who are already teaching."
"There are already qualified African American males in the educational
pipeline who would make excellent candidates for the program,"
said Dr. Owens. "They just need to hear the message from Tony and
others. Teaching is stressful, but it is truly a rewarding career,"
added Dr. Owens, who taught for 19 years in the public schools. "Many
may be initially turned off by the starting salaries of teachers, but,
like Tony, they realize they can make a long-term difference. Not just
for the moment, but they can have a lifetime impact on young people's