NATCHITOCHES – Christian Holmes, a 2021 graduate of C.E. Byrd High School in Shreveport, was honored during a signing day program for future educators. Holmes committed to participate in the Call Me MISTER program at Northwestern State University, an initiative to recruit African American males to become teachers and mentors at low-performing schools.
Holmes participated in Caddo’s teaching professions classes in recent years, which allowed him to gain insight into the work of educators. He is the first Caddo Parish student to participate in the Call Me MISTER program.
“I want to be a teacher to inspire the upcoming generation of young boys,” Holmes said. “I want them to know that they can do any and everything they put their minds to.”
“Teaching is a calling that requires passion, ambition and determination,” said Dr. T. Lamar Goree, Superintendent of Caddo Schools. “To see Christian identify at such a young age his desire to go into this incredible profession is something to admire. Through our work to provide coursework to prepare future teachers for the demands of undergraduate education classes, we are seeing the results of these efforts through students like Christian. We look forward to seeing additional students choosing to be teachers and participating in opportunities such as the Call Me MISTER program which allows individuals to become the best teachers they can be.”
Caddo also extended an offer to Holmes which allows him to work for the district as a teacher upon completion of his degree and receipt of his teaching certification.
Holmes learned about the program from his senior counselor Amanda Byrd.
MISTER is an acronym for Mentors Instructing Students Toward Effective Role Models. As a Call Me MISTER campus, NSU is part of a highly acclaimed recruitment and support program that includes a national network of universities.
“Research shows that having greater diversity in the teaching force yields positive outcomes not only for children of color, but for all children,” said Ramona Wynder, program coordinator. “When children have access to effective teachers who look like them, they perform better academically and social-emotionally.”
Prospective Misters must be a minority male and come from an underserved, socioeconomically disadvantaged, and/or educationally at-risk community. They must major in early childhood education, elementary education, health and physical education or music education and demonstrate a record of high scholastic achievement and participation in extra-curricular and community service activities.
Applications for Call me MISTER will be reviewed on a competitive basis each spring for consideration for cohorts that will begin each fall semester. Preference will be given to graduating high school seniors; two-year community college transfers; and first-year college freshmen. Eligible candidates will be selected based on their potential for teaching and their motivation for participation in the program.