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This organization helps bring more Black teachers into Kansas City schools

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  Naomi Nix teaches English at Lincoln College Prep and was part of the first cohort to join Teachers Like Me.
Courtesy of Dr. Trinity Davis
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Naomi Nix teaches English at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy and was part of the first cohort to join Teachers Like Me.

Kansas City-based Teachers Like Me has a specific goal, which is to recruit, develop and retain Black teachers. It’s starting to see some success.

Black students who have at least one Black teacher by the time they're in third grade are much more likely to enroll in college.

That’s one reason Trinity Davis started Teachers Like Me. She knew it was important for students to have representation in the classroom.

“I've been a teacher in the classroom, started teaching in 1997 and just noticed the lack of Black teachers in the classroom but also seeing the impact of Black teachers,” Trinity said. “Being the only professor of color, it was a big burden of working with Black students and teaching future teachers of color.”

Teachers Like Me focuses heavily on recruiting, developing and retaining Black teachers. It also helps teachers with housing.

The organization focuses on teachers who are in the first three years of their careers, because that’s when teachers need the most support. Naomi Nix, who teaches English at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy, was part of the first cohort to join Teachers Like Me. She is originally from Colorado and said housing was a huge concern for her. Getting help from the organization took some weight off her shoulders when she moved to Kansas City for a new job.

“When you're moving, especially as a young person moving to a new state, you know, one of the biggest worries you have is, where am I going to live?” Nix said. “Just knowing that I could come into a program that already secured the housing that takes off that first piece of 'Oh my gosh, where am I gonna go?'”

So far, Teachers Like Me has helped 15 Black teachers. Davis and Nix joined KCUR’s Up to Date to explain how they’ve brought new talent to Kansas City and increased representation in classrooms, as well as some of the challenges they face.

  • Dr. Trinity Davis, founder of Teachers Like Me
  • Naomi Nix, teacher at English at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy
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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
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