Minister George E. Stewart II talks educating Black boys, special needs

George E Stewart II (photo provided)

Why did you become an educator?
A chance meeting with a sorority sister of mine led me to the world of education. I met her at an appliance store where I was a salesman. She convinced me, that as a Black man, I would have a much greater impact on my community by becoming an educator. Not long after that, I applied to become a teacher assistant and the rest is history.

Tell us about your education and training.
I hold an associate degree [in] theology from the New Life Fellowship School of Ministry. I also received a bachelor’s degree in sports administration, minor: business administration, from the University of Southern Mississippi. I earned 21 hours toward a master’s degree in exercise science from the California University of Pennsylvania. Finally, I received my alternative certification teacher training from A.C.T. Houston. Now, I’m a certified teacher in the state of Mississippi and the state of Maryland.

You’ve shared that entrepreneurship found you and your focus is on African American males. Share the mission of your business.
I operate a youth development coaching business in which my primary focus is males of color. My mission is to support schools, churches, and other nonprofits by providing mentor training, strategic insight, program development, group facilitation, curriculum/lesson development, and spiritual development.

What has been your biggest challenge in working with African American males?
My biggest challenge with working with African American males has been getting many of them to exhibit different behavior in a school setting that may be opposite of what they have learned at home or in their neighborhood. It’s a process and does not happen overnight. But getting them to understand that their survival tactics are not necessary [for] certain places and getting them to turn it off and on is a challenge.

What has brought you the most joy in working with African American males?
What brings me most joy when working with African American males is doing what I call “destroying typical black male stereotypes.” Watching them effectively manage their emotions, academically perform at proficient levels, support their peers, and become leaders in their schools and communities brings me much joy.

How have you handled being a father of a child with special needs?
Being a father of a special needs child is very challenging. But I am able to manage it through my relationship with God, the support of my wife, the support of my family, and being able to help other parents who are also raising children with special needs.

What advice would you give African American men to encourage them to support our African American boys?
Our boys need us. Every boy or young man that you make an impact on is a part of your legacy. And that could be a bad thing or an amazing thing.

How does being an ordained minister shape the flow of your passions and commitments of your lifestyle?
Being a minister and a man of God in general, I’m always self-reflecting. I’m always checking my motives. Is what I’m doing bigger than myself? Is what I’m doing glorifying God? If I can answer yes to those two questions, then I know that I’m doing the right things.

What’s next for you over the next five years?
I want to continue to support schools, churches, and nonprofits in making an impact on our young people. I’ve always wanted to work in sports, so I’m pursuing opportunities to become a chaplain of an athletic team, and I want to broaden my work helping parents, especially fathers, who are raising children with special needs.

Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.

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