By Michal Ortner
Dr. Thomas McBryde, Jr, a New York Superintendent who describes himself as “tenacious,” has become an inspiration to many. He has a passion for public school systems to become a leading force of progress for the community and its students. And since his presence in education leadership, children have experienced the fruits of his labor.
McBryde joined up with Teach for America, after being encouraged by a Morehouse colleague, and found that the young black adolescents had never heard of such an institution of higher learning.
“There was no one telling them what was out there in the world, supporting them in their studies, or implanting within them the belief that they could achieve entrance there [to Morehouse] or anywhere else for that matter,” Dr. McBryde Jr. said.
This experience led McBryde to provide the need of mentorship to young men in the community and the school system. BE Modern Man asked McBryde what “key tenets to success” lie within the DNA of black men that is unique to their race.
He responded, “The innate ability to persevere despite being faced with what many would characterize as insurmountable obstacles. We also have the strength to endure the most difficult challenges and still stand.”
McBryde surrounds himself with positive influences that push him to work harder and do better, something he encourages his students and the community to do if they want to find success in their own lives.
“I only surround myself with people who inspire and challenge me to grow through their life and ambition,” Dr. McBryde told the Be Modern Man publication exclusively.
“My peers were very supportive when I decided to leave my principalship in Brownsville, New York to have a greater impact on more students in a new role as Deputy Superintendent. They would not allow my fears to undermine the gifts and strengths they saw in me and pushed me to move beyond my comfort level so I could have a broader impact,” he added.
“By displaying characteristics of integrity, hard work, intelligence, and commitment to service, we can break through the static of stereotypes,” Dr. McBryde said. “I grew up in 12 E Pioneer Homes, projects in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was constantly surrounded by drugs, poverty and violence. Despite my environment, I was able to receive a high quality education and leverage it to create opportunities and achieve my dreams.”