LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Jerry Clyde

Position: Sixth Grade Math Teacher
School: Christina Seix Academy
School District: Christina Seix Academy
City, State: Trenton, NJ

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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.

Comments (17)

Shanta Green Posted over a year ago

Jerry has a passion for education and it shows not only through the work he does but the relationships he builds with students, families, and colleagues. He is always working to provide different opportunities for his students. He is always willing to push his thinking in order provide the best for his students, his school and his community! He helps colleagues and friends by helping them in anyway he can. He is always providing his leadership skills inside and outside of the classroom!

Kanika Mobley Posted over a year ago

Jerry is such an amazing leader, educator and friend. His entire career has been dedicated to inspiring and empowering young kids of color. He is dedicated to this mission, whether it be supporting the students in his classroom, school community or younger family members. Jerry, I am so proud of you!

Nicole Johnson Posted over a year ago

I have had the pleasure of working with Jerry this year, hearing his infectious laugh, and benefiting from his positive outlook. He is a truly outstanding teacher who reaches his students on their level. He is also the type of educator that gets to know the student and how they work. I have seen him make gains with students not only grade wise , but more importantly getting to know the whole child and gaining their trust further enabling them to learn more in his classroom. I can not think of a more qualified candidate for this award.

Marcy Rouse Posted over a year ago

Mr. Clyde was a awesome person to work with. He was also a great teacher. He taught my granddaughter 5th grade Math and she made tremendous growth in math. Awesome Awesome teacher.

Ilana W Posted over a year ago

Jerry, what an honor!! I know how much of an impact you made on the students at our school in Boston and on all of us in the tutor corps. Your leadership and passion for educational justice will continue to inspire so many more young people and colleagues in your community!

Tay Kauffman Posted over a year ago

Jerry Clyde... I met Jerry back in high school. He has always been a great, caring and loving person. I’ve always known him to be passionate but his education and his students. I’ve watched him grow into a person who our education system needs. I truly wish there were more educators like Jerry in our school systems. I’m sure that through his teachings and his efforts, he has made a lasting impression on all of his former and current students. As well as the other faculty.

Brenda Posted over a year ago

So proud of you and your desire to be an inspiration to our youth. Good Luck and may God continue to inspire you.

Karen Mclaughlin Posted over a year ago

Jerry I am so proud of you!! You are amazing & always have been. Love, Your favorite teacher ?? “Miss Kohut”

J.Love Posted over a year ago

Hands Down! He's the best!

Andrea Lively-Sallie Posted over a year ago

Strong leadership skills in and out the classroom. Always have a helping hand for everyone. This young man's heart is made of pure gold. He's always raising the bar to go one step further to achieve just a little more daily.

Tracey Ames Posted over a year ago

Jerry is an amazing educator, friend and mentor to the students. As a fellow educator, I have witnessed how Jerry inspires his students and encourages them to do great. He never lets the students give up when they face a challenge. Even outside the classroom, Jerry encourages his students. When they are faced with circumstances that prevent them from doing their best, Jerry steps in as a mentor and even father figure to some of our students. Not everyone has this opportunity. Jerry wants his students to know that he is there for them. His students, in turn, feel a sense of security in his care. I appreciate Jerry as not only a colleague, but a friend. He leaves an impression on everyone he meets. He is someone you won’t regret meeting. Congratulations to Jerry for this amazing nomination, he is deserving of this opportunity!!!

Marissa Harris Posted over a year ago

Jerry aka Mr. Clyde is very inspiring and a great influencer. I have the pleasure of working with him this year and it has been such an amazement to see a black educated male who is soooo in tuned and involved with the students he come encounter with. He wants so much for his students and he make it his duty to expose them to other things outside the norm. Working with Mr. Clyde these past couple of months has shown me how great and humble of a person he is. He motivates me in ways he don’t even know. He is a Life Changer!

Asia F. Butler Posted over a year ago

Mr. Clyde is an inspiration and role model for all teachers of all ages. Such an amazing man.

Sazaya Simmons Posted over a year ago

Congratulations Mr. Clyde!!!! I always knew you would be an awesome teacher, and an positive example for our future youths.

Tamika Gaskill Posted over a year ago

I had the pleasure of teaching on the 5th grade team with Mr. Clyde. He was a leader amongst his peers and more importantly a great role model for the students he served. He was innovative, inspiring, and held high expectations for all of the students in our school. He definitely deserves this award.

Tenisha Mcghee Posted over a year ago

Jerry is a TRUE example of what amazing looks like. He truly loves what he does for his students everyday and every time he and I are in conversation his face just lights up. We need leaders like Jerry in our community to continue to help our youth become successful.

Kristian Dawson-Chadwick Posted over a year ago

I met Mr. Clyde while he was training in the Teach for America program in rural eastern North Carolina (Kinston, NC). His personality and his smile were infectious. I knew Jerry had all of the makings to be a great educator. He was passionate and was like a sponge, he soaked up everything that was being offered so that he could saturate his kids. I am honored to know him.