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Meet Corps Member Craig Shelton

Teach For America South Carolina, 2022
Craig Shelton

“Being a mentor created my dream of becoming an educator,” said Craig Shelton. 

After graduating from New England College with a degree in psychology, he came home to Elmont, New York to ponder his next step. It was during this brief break that Shelton started mentoring a student at his high school alma mater through The Men of Elmont, a program he co-founded with Elmont Memorial High School Former Principal Kevin Dougherty. The Men of Elmont shows young men different pathways to success through mentorship meetings, community service activities, and college and museum visits.   

Like his students in The Men of Elmont, Dougherty took Shelton under his wing – asking about his professional goals and ambitions. Shelton wanted to be a school principal, but without a traditional education route as an undergraduate, he sought career guidance on how to work toward running a school. 

Dougherty shared that Teach For America (TFA) provided several of his colleagues with a personalized pathway after college to launch an impactful career in education. This inspired Shelton to apply to TFA. In 2022, he was placed by Teach For America South Carolina (TFASC) at Liberty STEAM Charter School in Sumter, South Carolina as a first-grade teacher. 

“TFASC’s Pre-Service training was an eye-opener,” remarked Shelton. “It changed my perception that while teaching is hard at times, anything worth having is ‘the good hard.’ Every day I put in the hard work to help my students reach their potential.” 

“On the toughest days, I remember my ‘why’ to be the change I want to see in the world – working to develop myself, my students, and ultimately my community.”

Craig Shelton

South Carolina Corps Member 2022

His hard work is already making an impact. “As a Black male educator, I have seen how my students are more academically and emotionally engaged in what I’m teaching, which is helping them build confidence,” shared Shelton. 

He feels that TFASC teachers are important in his school and community. Why? 

“TFASC develops a diverse network of teachers who disrupt educational inequity,” said Shelton. “They provide ongoing coaching and hands-on learning experiences that are designed to support teachers and accelerate student growth.”   

He added, “I am thankful to TFASC for helping me improve my teaching skills and establish clear goals to become a principal one day."