MEET THE FOUNDER
An East Atlanta native, Mr. Blake Nathan has seen first hand the need for teachers of color both as a student and now as a teacher. He currently is in his 3rd year teaching engineering and technology to 7th and 8th graders. Mr. Nathan received his Bachelor of Arts and Science in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology with a concentration in Aviation Flight from Tennessee State University. He became a Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellow and earned his first Masters in Technology with an emphasis in education from Purdue University. He received his second Masters in Educational Leadership through the Urban Principles Program at Indiana University. Mr. Nathan firmly believes he can positively change the trajectory for students of color at failing schools and school districts nationwide.
LETTER FROM BLAKE
As a product of East Atlanta public schools, I experienced the lack of African American educators first hand as a student. I remember gravitating towards the three male teachers of color I had from kindergarten through 12th grade in search of a connection and support. Although I wasn’t fully aware of the impact he and his words had on me until much later, it was my 9th grade World Geography teacher, an African American male, who introduced me to Gandhi and first provoked the desire to become an educator and a vessel for change as an African American man in this country.
I realized the power of an educational environment where faculty and staff mirrored the student body during my undergraduate at studies at Tennessee State University (TSU). The relationships I formed with my professors, mentors, and peers at TSU en route to receiving my Bachelor of Arts and Science in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology inspired my choice to pursue a career in the field of education. In addition, throughout college I worked at a daycare and as an after school tutor. For many of the children I worked with I was the only African American male figure they had in their life. This reality placed significant weight on my shoulders but also focused my drive and determination. This work paired with my undergraduate experience cemented my passion for education, equity, and transformation. This was the spark that would eventually lead to the creation of Educate ME Foundation.
Following graduation from TSU, I became a Woodrow Wilson National Teaching Fellow and received a Masters in Technology with an emphasis in Education from Purdue University. During the summer of 2014, I was fortunate to attend the Harvard Urban Principal National Leadership Institute. During this experience, I dug deeper into the issues of race, culture, socioeconomics, and social justice in diverse classrooms around the nation. I then went on to receive my second Masters, in Educational Leadership from Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. Through this program, I developed practical tools and knowledge that are foundational to shifting the paradigm in education.
Once becoming a classroom teacher in Indianapolis, I realized there was more work to be done. I needed to find a way to change the education system from within. I wanted the presence of African American males, and teachers of color in general to not be a rarity, but normality. This was my inspiration for founding Educate ME Foundation, to create an avenue to inspire more future educators of color.
The path towards the creation of Educate ME Foundation in 2015 was a long and inspired journey. Educate ME Foundation is about instilling hope in youth of color through mentorship and guidance to inspire future generations to invest in themselves and the field of education. I firmly believe in the importance role models of color play in shaping the trajectory of a student’s educational achievement as well as overall success in life. I believe we have the power to uplift communities of color across the nation and change the scope of education. Educate ME Foundation seeks to be a leading driver of this.
I am constantly inspired by the work we have already accomplished in our first year as a foundation. I am excited to continue to grow and evolve the movement, as we strive to be the change we wish to see in the world.
Blake Nathan, Founder and CEO