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2009 News Releases

Call Me MISTER Institute provides leadership development skills and training

July 17, 2009

Participants in the 2009 Call Me MISTER Institute Participants in the 2009 Call Me MISTER Institute

Twenty-eight high school and college students participated in Longwood's Call Me MISTER Institute held July 6-10. Call Me MISTER (Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models) is a program designed to recruit, train, certify and secure employment for young African-American men as public elementary schoolteachers. The mission is to increase the pool of available teachers from a broader more diverse background.

The annual Call Me MISTER (CMM) Institute provides an overview and history of the program for new members as well as an opportunity for senior members to mentor the incoming class. During the week, the students participate in a variety of sessions including "Strategies for Dealing with Multiple Constituents as a Classroom Teacher," "Using Technology for Innovative Teaching," Facing Challenges of the Teaching Profession," "Community Service as a Component to Teaching the Entire Family," and "Leading from the Balcony: Evaluating the Effectiveness of Instruction."

Among the presenters were Justin Wilkes '05, M.S. '08, a member of the first CMM class at Longwood and currently an AVID Elect Teacher at Cumberland High School; Dr. Neal Holmes, director of the CMM program; Dr. Mano Talaiver, director of the Institute for Teaching through Technology and Innovative Practices (ITTIP); Linda Townsend, instructional technology design specialist for the ITTIP; Dr. Linwood Cousins, former faculty member in the College of Education and Human Services (CEHS); Dr. Connie Ballard, director of the Office of Professional Services; Dr. Micah McCreary, associate professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University; Dr. Anthony Koyzis, dean of Graduate Studies; Dr. Wayne White, associate dean of the CEHS; and Dr. Deneese Jones, dean of the CEHS.

Call Me MISTER participants view a documentary at the Moton Museum
Call Me MISTER participants view a documentary at the Moton Museum

As part of the Institute, the MISTERs-in-training visited the Robert Russa Moton Museum and viewed a documentary and exhibit detailing the events that led to the closing of the schools in Prince Edward County from 1959-1964. The students discussed the historic Brown vs. Board decision in the session "Prince Edward County and the Historic Brown Decision" which was led by several members of the first CMM classes at Longwood.

The Institute culminated with an evening banquet at which the students and their families were recognized for their achievements and dedication to the CMM program. A special tribute was held for Martha Stokes Cleveland who endowed the Martha Stokes Cleveland scholarship.  

In 2007 Longwood University became the flagship institution for the Call Me MISTER program in Virginia. The program originated in 1999 in South Carolina as a partnership between Clemson University and several colleges that have historically served African-Americans. Its name refers to "They Call Me Mister Tibbs," Sidney Poitier's famous line from the movie "In the Heat of the Night."

Longwood's College of Education and Human Services coordinates the Call Me MISTER program in collaboration with the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences, supporting MISTERs as they work toward a bachelor's degree in liberal studies (e.g., elementary, middle) or K-12 physical education. Key tenets of the Call Me MISTER program include a summer internship experience to induct new recruits from high school and community college, tuition and academic assistance to young men enrolled in elementary education certification programs, and a social and cultural peer support system.

Southside Virginia Community College and Saint Paul's College along with Prince Edward County Public Schools, Buckingham County Public Schools, and Cumberland County Public Schools are partnership institutions with Longwood for the program. High school juniors and seniors are eligible to participate.

Although the program targets African-American male students, it is the policy of Longwood University that no person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or, in any way be subjected to discrimination in any program or activity of the university.  Participation in the Call Me MISTER Program is open to anybody, regardless of race or gender, if they are capable of facilitating the achievement of its objectives. 

Students who wish to enroll in the program must complete an application form that can be found at www.longwood.edu/callmemister. Those interested may also call 434.395.2663.

Call Me MISTER 2009 Photo Gallery

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