Black male teachers are 40% of the staff at this St. Louis school with a 100% college acceptance rate

Tamiko Armstead, the president of Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School, tweeted a photo of its 18 Black male educators that recently went viral.

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: Black men make up 40 percent of the teachers and administrators at St Louis’ Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School — a campus that also boasts a 100-percent graduation and college admissions record.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Black men account for less than 2 percent of educators nationwide. But according to Eric Cooper, director of marketing and enrollment at Cardinal Ritter College Prep, they’ve always had a strong presence at the Catholic school, located in North St. Louis.

A Twitter post earlier this month from Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School in St. Louis featured the above picture of its 18 Black male teachers and administrators. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com)

“It’s been a great trajectory of consistency,” said Cooper, as reported by The Post-Dispatch. “It’s a great fit for African Americans. It’s the aura. We walk with our backs straight and our heads held high. It’s also a comforting thing for students.”

Cardinal Ritter recently went viral after its president, Tamiko Armstead — who graduated from the institution — tweeted a photo of its 18 Black male faculty and staff members standing aligned in front of the school. In the post’s caption, she challenged the notion that Black men are hard to come by in the field of education.

While some people believe there’s a shortage of Black male educators, Howard Fields, an area assistant school superintendent and co-founder of Black Males in Education-St. Louis, believes the real issue lies in the lack of racial diversity in hiring committees and leadership roles.

“When you are a Black male, and you see that,” Fields told The Post-Dispatch of Armstead’s Twitter post, “you want to be a part of something special like that.”

“We have such a gift of being able to connect with students.” he maintained.

Historically, Black males have performed the worst on standardized tests and experienced the most disciplinary actions when compared to other students. That’s why the photo shared on Twitter is all the more important. 

“To actually have men that look like you and show you what you could be speaks volumes,” said Ryan Johnson, a dean at Cardinal Ritter College Prep who also coaches basketball, according to the Post-Dispatch. “We’ve been through everything they’ve been through.”

And while its teachers, administrators and other staff members are quite proud of the school, which opened its doors in 1979 with the intention of meeting the needs of “primarily African-American young men and women who are both traditional and nontraditional college-bound students,” those young people are equally proud to attend it.

“This school allows us to dream big,” senior class president Zion Cannon told The Post-Dispatch. “We can be ourselves.”

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