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Profound Gentlemen

location_on Charlotte, United States

Building a community of male educators of color who provide a profound additional impact for boys of color.

Profound Gentlemen develops, supports, and retains effective male educators of color by providing access to a strong peer network, personalized coaching, and personally relevant learning opportunities. Nationally only 2% of teachers are men of color. Our vision is for boys of color to have access to multiple well-supported male teachers of color who serve as mirrors of success and opportunity.


HundrED has not validated this innovation.

All information on this page is provided by the innovator and has not been checked by HundrED.






Target group
July 2020

About the innovation

You can't be what you can't see.

Who we are

To date, over 500 male current and emerging male educators of color across the country have joined the Profound Gentlemen network to gain access to coaching, personal and professional development, and a supportive peer community. These resources enable our gentlemen to overcome challenges within the Education profession and to develop into impactful leaders for the communities they serve.

Profound Gentlemen was founded in 2014 by two Charlotte Mecklenburg (CMS) educators, Jason Terrell and Mario Shaw. Both Jason and Mario began their teaching career intimately believing that all students should constantly see positive examples of success. They also shared common challenges being a male educator of color without peers of a similar background to look to for support. Jason and Mario created Profound Gentlemen as a space to have conversations about educational equity, student achievement, and shared experiences of being one of the few men of color in their schools. They began to invite their peers, who they refer to as “Gentlemen”, and hosted monthly meetups for the teachers across Charlotte.

According to data from Dr. Chance Lewis from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, men of color leave the classroom 5x higher than any other demographic for four core reasons; lack of mentorship, lack of professional development, minimum career opportunities, and barriers to navigate the profession (Lewis & Toldson, 2013). In order to address high attrition rates for male educators of color, research suggests that men of color need target interventions that support their growth and tenure in the education profession.  

Since its founding, PG’s has evolved from informal meetups into a robust research-based model that utilizes coaching, peer-networks, and development opportunities to effectively address specific barriers faced by male educators of color to retain them within the education field. A three-year impact evaluation by Dr. Chance Lewis reported that PG’s program is effective in keeping male educators of color in the profession. Over the three years, 95% of all educators supported by PG remained in the education profession- a rate 35% higher than the national retention rate for beginning teachers. 

How we work

Profound Gentlemen utilizes targeted intervention to develop and retain male educators of color. Current male educators of color who teach in Charlotte become members of Profound Gentlemen by applying through their school, partner organizations, or online. Educators receive a professional growth plan and are placed in a collaborative cohort with other peer educators to build a stronger community of practice. 

Educators receive at least 20 hours of one-on-one coaching, build community within their cohort, participate and lead in education retreats and virtual workshops based on their career paths, and attend conferences tailored to the needs identified in their professional growth plan.

Each workshop, retreat, and conference delves into the following focus areas:

1. Character Development: The development of personal goals and identity

2. Content Development: Pedagogical development for effective, research-based teaching

3. Continuous Leadership: Accessing leadership pathways for male educators of color

Profound Gentlemen is increasing the opportunity for students, especially young men in high poverty schools, to be taught by an educator who affirms their identity, provides a culturally affirming environment, and serves as a mirror of success and opportunity. 


2019 Annual Report
Profound Gentlemen boost male teachers of color
Profound Gentlemen, an initiative to lift male teachers of color, hosted their annual soiree Nov. 14 at UNC Charlotte. Support independent local journalism. Subscribe to The Charlotte Post. Profound Gentlemen is celebrating five years of advocating for male teachers of color. Their annual Soiree at UNC Charlotte on Nov. 14 shared the mission and impact of the organization, stories from educators and students, as well as honor Professor of Urban Education at UNCC Chance Lewis. “We were founded on Halloween of 2014,” said educator and Executive Director Jason Terrell. “We celebrated our fifth year a couple weeks ago, but are kicking off our Soiree, which is our annual fundraising event. Much of Lewis’ work focuses on the retention and recruitment of black male educators. “When we started the program, we used a lot of Dr. Chance Lewis’ research to create the program model,” Terrell said. “How it looks this year is we are supporting about 60 men of color who teach in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and throughout schools in Charlotte. We work with teachers who teach in the charter sector, the private sector, as well as the public school sector. We give them intense support through either recruitment strategies or development strategies to get on the path of leadership over time. We use a lot Dr. Lewis’ research to fuel and propel our program model.” Terrell touched on their aspirations to expand support to CMS teachers, noting discussions with Superintendent Earnest Winston on how to recruit and maintain male educators of color. “This year we’re really thinking about, ‘how do we leverage partnerships, particularly with CMS, to support more educators?’” Terrell said. “Our goal is to increase the support or teachers here in Charlotte.” Charlotte schools are filled with teachers who do not look like their students. Profound Gentlemen’s goal for the next five years is to cultivate a workforce of teachers who reflect its majority minority enrollment. CMS consists of 175 schools, 19,163 employees and 148,299 students. African Americans account for 38.1% of enrollment followed by white students at 28% and Hispanics at 24.1%. “We want to see how we can get folks interested in the profession as early as high school,” Terrell said. “Our vision is that we will have a robust pipeline of teachers who are coming into CMS, starting at high school, going through college—not only teaching in the district, but teaching and leading the district.” Retention is a key issue for black male educators, which Terrell described as a four-part problem.“The first is a lack of professional development,” he said. “Often times when you have a male in a school, especially a male of color, they are placed in a disciplinary role. They’re ISS teachers. They might be the informal behavioral coordinators, but you don’t see a lot of these men reach positions of academic dean or lead teacher. They don’t have an opportunity to truly develop.” Terrell identified school culture as the second reason. “Sometimes you don’t feel like you’re valued in school, like you don’t have a voice to advocate for students and to advocate for changes,” Terrell said. “We definitely want to see the school culture change, and a lot of that has to do with leadership locally. Making sure that principals are staying at schools longer, and that principals have strong strategic plans to help with culture.” Curriculum also creates an issue. “Having the ability to teach in a way that your students can grasp—often we have this teach for the test model,” Terrell said. “Teachers don’t have the flexibility to be innovative, to be creative, to bring in life experiences that reflect their students.” The fourth and final key issue is pay. “Teachers want to be compensated well, like every other profession,” Terrell said. “A lot of pay is tied with your performance and leadership positions—they’re all tied together. Making sure we have robust career ladders and very clear pay scales, and that we’re valuing our teachers through our dollars is really important.”http://www.thecharlottepost.com/news/2019/11/15/life-and-religion/profound-gentlemen-boost-male-teachers-of-color/
Profound Gentlemen 2019 CIA Recap

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