Alumni Story – Anthony Stinson (M.Ed. ’86, Ed.S. ’96)

Some little boys, when you ask them, will claim that they want to be professional athletes when they grow up.

Or firemen. Or superheroes.

When Anthony Stinson (M.Ed. ’86, Ed.S. ’96) was a child, he knew what he wanted to be: a teacher.

“I’m gonna make you laugh,” he admits with a chuckle, “but I used to get chairs and line them up in my home when I was little. I was 10, maybe 11, and I remember doing that. That was my classroom. I don’t remember ever thinking of any other profession – teaching was always in the forefront.”

As it turns out, Stinson’s passion for teaching might literally be in his genes. He grew up in rural Garland, Ala., the son of a Baptist preacher and farmer and the youngest of 10 brothers and sisters – each of whom graduated from college and all of whom, save one, took jobs in education. Stinson credits his mother and father for that remarkable record and says that learning was something sacred.

That’s part of the reason why Stinson has spent 28 years actively passing on his love of learning as a high school math teacher in DeKalb County and part-time instructor at Georgia State University. At Lakeside High School, where’s he’s taught for the past eight years, Stinson is well-known for infusing his math classes with his trademark energy and enthusiasm. But he takes his responsibility as an educator seriously.

“I always tell teachers whenever you feel you’ve arrived, then you need to stop teaching,” he says. “It’s an ever-refining art form, and, for me, I am always trying to refine my craft.”

When it comes to professional accolades, Stinson’s high standards for himself and his students have certainly paid off. In 2006, he was honored as the DeKalb County System-Wide Teacher of the Year. Most recently, Stinson was a finalist for the 2008 Georgia Teacher of the Year and was also deemed an influential STAR Teacher by his students at Lakeside. But recognition from his students and peers isn’t nearly as important to Stinson as a cause he has championed for years: attracting more males – especially African-American males – to the field of mathematics education.

“I look back over my high school career, and I did not have nay African-American male teachers, and not just in math – none at all,” said Stinson, who is black. “We already know that there’s a teacher shortage, but I think 10 years down the road, there’s going to be a critical shortage of the African-American male teacher – and especially in mathematics education. If you look at statistics as far as mathematics education is concerned, the higher level of math, the sharper the drop-out rate for African-American males, period, across the curriculum. We need more role models in the classroom because we just don’t have them.”