Born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Clint Mitchell had an appreciation for education instilled in him by his grandfather, but never imagined he’d find himself in his current role. As the principal of Mount Vernon Woods Elementary School in Alexandria, Va., Mitchell is one of only three Black male elementary school principals in the district. A far cry from the 14-year-old who immigrated to New York City, he’s excelled in the role.
Through personalized work in the recruitment and retention of staff of color, he’s created what he describes as a “majority globalized school’ – where the students, the teachers and the staff come from all walks of life, and are encouraged to share their truths and to accept each other’s differences. The result is a retention rate of nearly 95 percent over his first five years, more than double what it was before he arrived. In this piece, he shares his approach, and offers insight on methods for attracting more people of color, and particularly Black men, to the field.