Each month, Revolutionary Paideia selects an individual who embodies the “unsettling, unnerving, and unhousing” spirit that founded this site. In order to be selected to be a Person of the Month or Person of the Year by Revolutionary Paideia, an individual, widely known or little known, has to have and/or is making a significant contribution to humankind. Although Revolutionary Paideia has selected well-known individuals for the Person of the Month and Person of the Year, a solemn commitment is made to honoring people who do extraordinary things but receive little to no acclaim. The person who has been selected for the Revolutionary Paideia November 2011 Person of the Month is Melvin Parker, III.
Melvin Parker, III is a Georgia educator and counselor who works at Alcovy High School in Covington, Georgia. Melvin has been an educator and counselor for over five years at Alcovy High School. Mr. Parker has a serious interest in ameliorating the educational experiences and outcomes of all students, especially disadvantaged Black male students. Extensive empirical research has evinced that Black male students at all levels of the educational pipeline academically underperform all of their peers.
From Mr. Parker’s interactions with students considered “at-risk,” and who were constantly being referred to him by administrators to develop plan of actions because of disciplinary problems, he developed an idea to construct The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club at Alcovy High School. The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club is an organization focused on improving the behavior, academic achievement, social skills, life skills, professionalism, and potential for career success of “at-risk” male students at Alcovy High School. Many Black male students are a part of The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club. The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club is in its second year of existence. This organization is an important intervention in helping at-risk male students move from a path that can lead them into serious trouble to a pipeline of career success. Melvin is excited about the early success of the organization and looks forward to the future growth of the organization. He has thoroughly enjoyed making a notable difference in the lives of the students he leads in this organization.
Through The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club, Mr. Parker is able to afford these young Black males an opportunity to listen to various motivational speakers, participate in sundry educational projects, go on engaging field trips, receive individual and group assistance with academic work, and much more. On Wednesdays, students who are members of The Distinguished Gentlemen’s Club have to wear dress shirts, dress pants, and ties to school for the entire school day. This is vital in their understanding of professionalism and in their efforts to enter the workforce or college prepared to be young professionals.
Mr. Parker’s true commitment to improving the educational experiences and outcomes of Black male students throughout the educational pipeline is also reflected in his doctoral work at Northcentral University. Melvin is a doctoral student in Northcentral University’s doctoral degree program in Exceptional Children (Special Education). The focus of Mr. Parker’s doctoral dissertation is to find ways to better identify and serve Black male college student-athletes who have learning disabilities. Melvin has exposed a significant gap in the published research with his work in this area of research. His research will prove to enhance the educational experiences and outcomes of Black male college student-athletes. At Alcovy High School, he serves as Assistant Head Track & Field Coach. His coaching experience is, of course, giving him valuable insights for his doctoral dissertation work.
Melvin earned his master’s degree from Troy University in Post-Secondary Education with a concentration in Psychology. He graduated with honors from Troy University with an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Mr. Parker volunteers actively for various charitable organizations and causes.
It is with great pleasure to name a deserving man like Melvin Parker, III as The Revolutionary Paideia November 2011 Person of the Month. Melvin, continue to do the awesome work you’re doing, and Revolutionary Paideia wants you to know that the things you’re doing are not going unnoticed. Congratulations, Melvin Parker, III!
Antonio Maurice Daniels
University of Wisconsin-Madison