Position: Sixth Grade Math Teacher
School: Christina Seix Academy
School District: Christina Seix Academy
City, State: Trenton, NJ
Jerry Clyde was nominated by an anonymous parent of a student.
Two percent. That figure may seem insignificant, until you understand the context. Despite students of color representing more than half the student population, Black men make up only two percent of the teacher workforce. As it happens, this statistic is very significant, as the lack of diversity has negative implications for all students.
"When I first met Mr. Clyde, he was a coworker and my grandson’s fifth-grade teacher," said his nominator. "I was extremely excited when I walked in the classroom to see him teaching our youth. This was going to be my grandson’s first black male teacher. The first thing I said to Mr. Clyde was 'Thank you' because this was very rare to have a black male teacher in elementary school who wasn't a gym teacher."
"I let Mr. Clyde know my grandson never had a truly outstanding school experience due to his behavior. He told me he felt like he could can connect with students on a higher level because of their shared identity," said the nominator. "He said, 'I think they know, and they can feel it that I want the best for them. Being in the classroom is also a great opportunity for them to see a different version of a black man, the human side of a black man, and not the negative stereotypes that they usually see when they turn on the TV.' After that talk with him, I knew my grandson was in good hands."
Mr. Clyde sets high, but reasonable standards for his students, and he gives them the tools to succeed. Students are motivated and intellectually stimulated in his classroom, and his successful teaching techniques are reflected in his student’s standardized test scores. Mr. Clyde has a gift for making his students think. He does not spoon-feed them the information, but helps them understand how to figure things out for themselves. He has a passion for teaching and turns mistakes into teachable moments in his classroom. His classes are never boring. He uses a plethora of methods to keep the children interested and engaged.
Mr. Clyde is respected by his colleagues and peers in his building and afar. He could be described as a thinker, a hard worker, a problem-solver, an innovator, and a dynamic member of the fifth grade team. Mr. Clyde isn’t just a grade-level leader, but a valued member of his team. His enthusiasm, passion, and precision for his craft and his love for teaching mathematics are hardly rivaled. It is a joy to watch him teach and interact with the class. He is enthusiastic about learning and the content he delivers to the students. Mr. Clyde implements many types of learning situations, including whole group and small group activities, independent student projects throughout the school, and one-on-one student/teacher interactions. He utilizes a variety of strategies for classroom management.
Mr. Clyde comes to school each day with charisma and enthusiasm. This charisma and enthusiasm, in turn, is transferred to the students in the classroom. In spite of any challenges he may face, this spirit continued throughout his placement. Another quality Mr. Clyde possesses is an enjoyment and respect for the children. Throughout his day-to-day interactions with the students, it's evident he enjoys working with children, and that he respects their various differences. In addition to voluntarily mentoring individual students, he also formed a step team to allow students to showcase all of their many talents.
Mr. Clyde does not serve merely for awards or accolades, but to inspire and impact all those he comes in contact with daily. He has mastered the art of pushing his students to reach their highest potential, making learning relevant and fun while encouraging them and serving as their biggest cheerleader. He has demonstrated the ability to be firm, set rules and boundaries, and maintain strong, affirming relationships. Nothing is average with Mr. Clyde. He may only be on record teaching fifth-grade math, but he is a bright light and inspiration to everyone on a daily basis. Mr. Clyde is a continuous learner. He exquisitely balances his most important roles as a teacher, son, mentor, and friend.