Name: Dr. Thomas McBryde Jr.
Profession: Deputy Superintendent [New York Department of Education]
One Word That Describes You: Tenacious
For the New York Department of Education, there’s one man who looks to transform public education into a hub of forward progression and his name is Dr. Thomas McBryde Jr. From elevating achievement requirements at KIPP Achieve Academy to helping 8th graders develop their English skills, Dr. McBryde Jr. has required only stellar academic success from those in his presence.
Challenged originally by a Morehouse colleague who joined Teach for America, Dr. McBryde committed two years of his life to provide high quality education to young black boys who didn’t even know the all-male university even existed. “There was no one telling them what was out there in the world, supporting them in their studies, or implanting within them the belief that they could achieve entrance there [to Morehouse] or anywhere else for that matter,” Dr. McBryde Jr. told BE Modern Man exclusively.
It is that need to be a mentor to our young that drives Thomas to help the way he does within our community. When asked what are some key tenets to success that black men carry in their DNA that you won’t find in other races, here’s what he had to say: “The innate ability to persevere despite being faced with what many would characterize as insurmountable obstacles. We also have the strength to endure the most difficult challenges and still stand.” A man who served as the Resident Principal for New Leaders for New Schools contends that hard work and a heightened level of pride are other tents that we have that propel us into higher stratospheres of success.
As an agent of change within the educational system, Dr. McBryde not only impacts students, but entire communities. His drive to do so comes from his healthy support system of friends, colleagues, and family who push him to support the growing next generation of leaders. “I only surround myself with people who inspire and challenge me to grow through their life and ambition,” Dr. McBryde tells BE Modern Man exclusively. “My peers were very supportive when I decided to leave my principalship in Brownsville, New York to have a greater impact on more students in a new role as Deputy Superintendent. They would not allow my fears to undermine the gifts and strengths they saw in me and pushed me to move beyond my comfort level so I could have a broader impact.”
Education, particularly in New York City, is a rough bag to carry. There are so many vices and temptations that young developing minds can sometimes easily fall into the traps that knock them off course. “By displaying characteristics of integrity, hard work, intelligence, and commitment to service, we can break through the static of stereotypes,” Dr. McBryde said. “I grew up in 12EPioneer Homes, projects in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was constantly surrounded by drugs, poverty and violence. Despite my environment, I was able to receive a high quality education and leverage it to create opportunities and achieve my dreams.”