“This Summit’s purpose is to provide them with a pathway” - Athens State’s “Men of Kinnis” program looks to add more male minority educators to classrooms

The program has been in the works for two years that would provide scholarships to cover the...
The program has been in the works for two years that would provide scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books, and housing.
Published: Aug. 13, 2022 at 10:11 PM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Saturday morning marked the beginning of a journey for many men of color at Athens State.

Catherine Wehlburg, the Provost for the College of Education at the university says they’re able to bring in historically underrepresented people into their College. “It changes how we look at things, how we talk about things, and I think that makes a huge impact,” she says.

“Men of Kinnis: Summer Summit 2022″ included a collection of speakers that served as an orientation for aspiring male educators of color. These aspiring teachers are already feeling motivated and reaping the fruit of the program.

“The amount of connections that you can make, you know the phrase all the time, ‘it takes a village and they are truly proving that to be true,” said Rod Smith, an aspiring teacher with the program. “There was a gentleman that spoke earlier about the difference of just seeing you in the classroom and I never thought of it that way and so now, I’m excited to try it.”

Men of Kinnis is also attracting men who never knew being an educator could be their calling.

“It wasn’t something that I always wanted to do. I became a part time teacher at an elementary school in Decatur and just seeing the impact that I had on the kids at that point, I was like ‘education definitely has to be my calling’ because the way they made me feel and the way I made them feel by being there, it was just awesome.”

Dr. Darlene Turner-White is the Men of Kinnis program coordinator and wants everyone to know that the initiative to increase the amount of male minority educators is something every university needs.

“This summit’s purpose is to provide them with a pathway and let them know essential topics that are important for their development. I want them to be knowledgeable and I want them to know the importance of collaboration. That is in our mission statement in the college of education because when our students graduate, we can them to be prepared and ready for day one.”

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