An ex-Fellow Trouble-shoots in the Bronx
Published in Inside - Volume X, No. 1
Former Peace Corps Fellows don't die-they just take on tougher assignments. Consider Elmer Myers. Not content with two years of Peace Corps service overseas, and then teaching as a TC Peace Corps Fellow in Brooklyn and the South Bronx, he has just become Regional Instructional Specialist for 13 public schools in New York City's Region 2. That includes the Huntspoint section of the Bronx, one of the nation's poorest congressional districts. In one of Myers' schools, 98 percent of the kids come from families living below the federal poverty line. Several others are listed by the city as needing improvement or corrective action.
"It's going to be challenging," he says of his job, in which he'll act as the chief troubleshooter for problems in areas ranging from math and reading to school libraries and English as a second language. "We've pulled some long days dealing with third graders who are going to be left back under the new city rules. Before that I spent some weeks working on hiring new principals for two of our schools." And that was before classes had started.
Still, Myers takes pride in his schools. One seventh-grade class won last year's New York City Economics Bowl, fielding questions from officials at the World Bank. "There are some great things going on," he said. "It's just a question of how to grow those strengths."
Myers holds two master's degrees from Teachers College-one in Mathematics, which he earned in 1996, and another in Education Administration, which he completed this year-and says his time at the College has stood him in good stead.
"But without my experience in the Peace Corps and the Peace Corps Fellows program, I would not have been able to make it in New York City," he said. "If there is one thing that I got out of those experiences, it was a real appreciation for each person's individuality. That's especially valuable in New York."previous page