Teacher of the Year
Passionate, energetic, driven, and student-focused is how colleagues, administrators, and students describe Economics teacher Mr. Jonathan Carlisle. Named BHS Teacher of the Year for 2021, Carlisle has been on the fast track to success as a teacher leader at Benjamin Banneker, since arriving in 2017.
Now in his fourth year, Carlisle, is the Social Studies department chair and the former chairperson of Banneker's School Governance Council. Additionally, he serves as a teacher coach for Next Generation Men and Women, an organization dedicated to exposing inner-city students to various industries and job opportunities.
Though many may see teaching as a job, Carlisle sees teaching as his calling and rejoices when he aids students in reaching their learning goals. " I believe that all schools should be high quality learning spaces, and I take pride in providing the best possible educational experience for my students, " he said. " It is a special feeling to hear/ see someone learn something and apply it with accuracy."
Carlisle was raised in Marion, Alabama (pop. 3600) and credits his experiences as a student there for his teaching style. "For me, my school and the teachers that taught me created a safe space that I just couldn't find at home. I wanted to recreate that space for other youth in similar situations. I hope the work I have done reflects such," he stated.
"Having been raised in a small town, I understand that one of the biggest challenges our students face is exposure," Carlisle remarked. "Our students are some of the most intelligent students on the planet, but unfortunately they lack the life experiences that would give them the freedom to realize their dreams. By sharing my life experiences with students and working with other stakeholders in the community to provide students with visible definitions of success, I think that we will be able to ensure that all students are able to realize their dreams."
When asked specifically about his success as an Economics teacher of predominantly African American students, Carlisle responded, " I would say that a large part of my success comes from meeting kids where they are. This is to say that I try my best to engage students using cultural capital that I have acquired through my love of music, pop culture, and just Black culture in general. Students need to be hooked into what they have been learning about. If the information being taught doesn't relate to them, or if the information doesn't have any value to them, they won't learn it."
Mr. Carlisle received a bachelor's degree in Political Science from Morehouse College in 2017. He continued his education at Georgia State University, earning a Master of Arts in Social Science Education in 2020. Presently, he is enrolled at Kennesaw State University and looks forward to receiving his Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction in 2022. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and is committed to growth in all aspects of his life.