District Launches Diversity Initiative; Glynn County School Officials Want to See More Minority Teachers in Their Classrooms

Article excerpt

Byline: TERESA STEPZINSKI

BRUNSWICK -- If seeing is believing, then educators from teaching colleges in three states should have been convinced Friday to recommend the Glynn County School District as an employer for their graduates.

Students, teachers and principals at four Glynn schools, as well as district administrators and Board of Education members, hosted the officials from nine colleges in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida.

Each college has a predominantly African-American student population in its undergraduate and post-graduate teacher education programs.

They came to Glynn County as part of the school district's Teacher Recruitment Initiative -- a new program created by Superintendent Michael Bull and Rebecca Cooper, assistant superintendent for human resources.

The goal is to bring more diversity to the school system's teaching, counseling and administrative ranks, Cooper said.

"We have a critical shortage of minority teachers. And impressionable boys and girls need diverse role models," she said.

To recruit more minority teachers preparing to graduate, Cooper said they invited the college officials to take a first-hand look at the teaching opportunities and student achievement programs available in the district.

They toured Oglethorpe Point Elementary School, Goodyear Elementary School, Needwood Middle School and Glynn Academy. They met with pupils as well as administrators who showcased the district's programs to raise student achievement through better assessment and creative teaching strategies.

In the past, Cooper and Glynn principals would make recruitment trips to the colleges and to job fairs throughout the country.

Bringing the college officials here, Cooper said, is a more effective and cost-efficient approach.

Glynn's student population has become more diverse in recent years, but its teaching and administrative staff has lagged behind, according to district data.

The district has about 12,280 students, of which 55 percent are white, 39 percent are African-American, 5 percent are Hispanic, and the rest are other minorities.

The school system has 1,059 certified employees, including teachers, instructional coaches, counselors, principals and administrators. Of those, 166 -- 15.6 percent -- are African-American or other minorities.

Cooper and the district's other two assistant superintendents -- Delacy Sanford and Al Davis -- are black. …