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TFA Miami-Dade Corps Member & Alumni Attend Inaugural Black Male Educator Convening

This October, three members of our CM & Alumni family, DeAnthony Friday, Eric Steen, and Kendrick Morris, attended the inaugural Black Male Educator Convening in Philadelphia, PA. Read about their experience!

November 27, 2017

DeAnthony Friday, Eric Steen, and Kendrick Morris, Attended The Black Male Educator Convening

This year, a top priority of the Miami-Dade Alumni Leadership Development team is to provide our corps members (current TFA teachers) and TFA alumni (those who have served their 2-year corps commitment) with more opportunities to engage in meaningful, external learning opportunities. In October,  three members of our CM & Alumni family, DeAnthony Friday (Miami-Dade 2012), Eric Steen (Miami-Dade 2015) and Kendrick Morris (Miami-Dade 2016), attended the inaugural Black Male Educator Convening in Philadelphia, PA!

The inaugural conference sold out within 5 days of registration opening, and gathered educators, administrators, student advocates, and supporters alike who are committed to enhancing the presence and power of Black Male Educators. The event amplified the voices of black men working in education and addressed the low presence of black males in the field. Currently, black males make up only 2% of the teaching profession, a number that Teach For America Miami-Dade is working to address by bringing more teaching diversity to our city's classrooms and providing blueprints and resources for those interested in school administration. 

During the convening, the group discussed career trajectory, upward mobility, and the life cycle of black male career educators. Superintendent of Philadelphia Schools Dr. William Hite and State Senator Anthony Williams served as guest speakers. Other special guests included State Rep. Dwight Evans, State Sen. Vincent Hughes, State Rep. Jordan Harris, and State Rep. Jason Dawkins . Youssef Kromeh, a poet and former student of El-Mekki's, gave a powerful performance. The convening also included a videotaped welcome address from David J. Johns, the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans. It was truly a powerful weekend!

Check out the testimonials from Friday, Steen and Morris below! We're excited our educators were able to participate in this amazing experience, and for the change they will continue to affect here in South Florida.

“The convening worked to address issues that limit our presence and growth within the field, while also elevating educators and school leaders in attendance. Discussion topics addressed issues that ranged from how black men are utilized in schools (mostly as coaches and disciplinarians), to calling out the need to be self-aware in order to uniquely reach our students. The most eye opening experience I had was in a workshop that dug into Culturally Responsive Teaching. Though the topic is not new, its presentation was fresh and unique. I was forced to reflect on how my actions both deliberate and unconscious subject some of my students to be excluded and left out. With me, I brought back more of a willingness to learn about my students to reach them in a way that not only is inclusive but is also genuine." -Kendrick Morris, Second-Year Miami-Dade Corps Member

“Because of this experience, I am charged with finding an issue within my school or community and committed to solving that issue over the next 360 days. Next year, during this same time, it is my goal to have solved the issue identified, but in the event I am not able to solve the issue, ensure I have made some progress toward the goal.” -DeAnthony Friday, Miami-Dade 2012 Alum, Sixth-Year Teacher

"This experience reconnected me with the reasons I decided to do this work. It has given me the inspirations I’ve been needing for this third year of teaching, as well as a wealth of people in education to look to for support and guidance. I was able to network with other educators concerned with the future of education and pitch the 'My Student Blueprint' student guidance app I have created. The organizers of the convening did an amazing job of gathering a diverse group of educators to connect and work together to solve the problems in our community." -Eric Steen, Miami-Dade 2015 Alum