Normandale Announces Appointment of Marvis Kilgore to Develop and Launch New “Black Men in Teaching” Program

By Devon Cox - Digital Media Producer

Normandale Community College is pleased to announce it has appointed Marvis Kilgore as Black Men in Teaching Program Coordinator. Kilgore will play an essential role in developing the college's brand-new Black Men in Teaching (BMIT) Program, which will offer academic, career, and personal support to Black, African-American, and African men starting their higher education journeys with a goal of becoming licensed K-12 teachers. The program will also offer full-tuition scholarships funded by donors to the Normandale Community College Foundation.

  In his new role, Kilgore will recruit prospective students for the BMIT Program, build community partnerships that foster academic and professional opportunities for BMIT Program students, and provide coaching and mentoring to help ensure students' success at Normandale and beyond.    

Kilgore has been a champion of diversity and equity in the field of education both stateside and abroad. While serving in Teach for America, Kilgore taught elementary bilingual math and science classes to first generation Latin American students and middle school Spanish to a predominately African-American student body in Houston, Texas. He eventually transitioned to higher education, teaching Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL) courses in the University of Houston system and at Houston Community College, respectively. Kilgore spent nine years in the Middle East where he served as an ESL Lecturer and Program Coordinator at the Community College of Qatar, the only community college in the region, and as an English for Academic Purposes (EAP) Lecturer at a British higher education institution. Kilgore holds a B.A. with honors in Foreign Language Education from Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, and a M.A. in Modern Languages from the University of Mississippi.  

"It is an absolute honor and privilege to join the Office of Equity and Inclusion at Normandale Community College as the first ever Black Men in Teaching Program Coordinator." Says Kilgore. "Having the opportunity to directly address equity and inclusion issues in the state of Minnesota by placing more Black men in the K-12 educational setting is an enormous responsibility, but it is a necessary one especially given the current racial climate in the U.S. Placing Black men in classrooms would be beneficial for all students, especially Black children who experience grave inequities on their quest to obtain a high quality education in the State of Minnesota."      

According to data for the 2017-18 school year, Minnesota schools enrolled 97,669 Black/African-American students in all grades, but only 875 (1.4%) of Minnesota's K-12 teachers were Black.  

Keenly aware of this gap, Normandale Community College President Dr. Joyce Ester has aspired for many years to develop a program to recruit and help prepare Black men to be K-12 teachers. "There is widespread concern across our community about the lack of diversity among teaching professionals," she said. "The intentionality and specificity of our new Black Men in Teaching Program positions Normandale to be a part of the change that students and communities need. This program will transform not only the lives of the students we educate at Normandale, but the lives of the students they will teach in the future."  

"Representation matters," said Normandale Equity and Inclusion Officer John Parker-Der Boghossian, who leads the Equity and Inclusion Office that houses the new Black Men in Teaching Program. "We've seen this in Normandale's one-of-a-kind Somali Area Studies program. When students see themselves reflected in their teachers and in their classes, they succeed. If we approach our Black Men in Teaching Program with that same intention, thoughtfulness, and transparency, then this program will not only transform lives, it will transform education."

About Normandale Community College: Established in 1968, Normandale is a premier, comprehensive community college offering a curriculum that spans more than 60 liberal arts and science disciplines. With exceptional faculty and intensive student support services, we prepare students for success in transferring to four-year colleges and universities and joining the workforce. Normandale is the largest community college and third largest institution in the Minnesota State system. Our student body is very diverse, with nearly two-thirds of degree-seeking students identifying as low-income, first generation, and/or Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color.