DURHAM, N.C. – A new program at North Carolina Central University aims to increase minority-male representation in the classroom.


What You Need to Know 

  • NCCU’s Marathon Teaching Institute aims to help with developing a more diverse field of educators
  • A recent U.S. Department of Education report shows Black men make up about 2% of the nation’s educators
  • Marquay Spencer-Gibbs is one of four students who are a part of the new program


Marquay Spencer-Gibbs is one of four students who are part of NCCU’s Marathon Teaching Institute, which aims to help with developing a more diverse field of educators.

“It’s very important because what one teacher may not have been able to … impact a student, you have the opportunity to impact that student,” Spencer-Gibbs said. “I was that student that hadn’t seen many African-American teachers in my classroom.”

A recent U.S. Department of Education report found African-American men make up about 2% of the nation’s educators.

“You have to think about how many school systems, how many students that the country serves in terms of education, and that number is very minuscule,” Spencer-Gibbs said.

A recent state legislative report shows that 25% of public school students in North Carolina are African American, while less than 15% are teachers. Spencer-Gibbs says students must see themselves in their teachers.

“To get to impact students that were like me who just need their ambition and drive channeled into something positive,” Spencer-Gibbs said. “It makes all the difference, and that’s where the change starts.”

Quintin Murphy, Chief Recruitment and Retention Officer in Education at NCCU, says part of the difficulty is ensuring African-American teachers end up inside classrooms teaching subjects like science, geography and history classes.

“A lot of these schools that are hiring Black male educators automatically enroll them into positions, such as in-school suspension or coaches,” Murphy said.

Students who are part of the Marathon Teaching Institute are connected to resources, scholarships and a growing list of alumni across the region. The program also holds workshops in financial literacy, community services and professional development.

“We just don’t give teaching resources,” Murphy said. “We give resources to help these young men become better men.”

Murphy says they’ve received over a dozen applications from students wanting to jump on board since the program began in August.

Spencer-Gibbs says he’s already getting his feet wet as a teaching fellow, helping freshmen get accustomed to college and as an advocate for middle school students in the Durham area.

“It feels great [to be part of the Marathon Teaching Institute] because this is where I want to be [in the classroom] in order to make the change I want to see,” Spencer-Gibbs said. “Just being there, to be a representative of what it is to be great and to be successful.”

As Spencer-Gibbs moves through the program, he looks forward to being part of the solution to increasing minority representation in the classroom.

“Because at the end of the day, I know I made the impact that was needed in order for that to change,” Spencer-Gibbs said.

To learn more about the Marathon Teaching Institute, visit NCCU’s website.