The College of Charleston’s first Volpe Fellow will graduate on May 7, 2010 with a Master of Arts in Teaching Elementary Education. Stevan V. Harris, from Goose Creek, S.C., is the inaugural Volpe Fellow and is currently finishing his clinical internship at Cane Bay Elementary School in Berkeley County.

The purpose of the Volpe Fellowship is to improve the achievement of African-American PK-8 students in South Carolina by providing financial assistance and support for African-American male PK-8 teacher education candidates. In 2007, philanthropists Charles and Andrea Volpe established a scholarship program to assist a Master of Arts in Teaching candidate in early childhood, elementary, or special education. It was designed to support a student who is a member of an under-represented ethnic group, with a strong preference given to a male student.

“Graduating with a degree in business and accounting, I didn’t think it was possible to go into teaching,” Harris says. “This fellowship has given me the opportunity to earn my masters degree and become a certified elementary education teacher. Now I will be able to make an impact on future generations through teaching.”

“Given the critical shortage of African American male teachers in South Carolina, I’m very proud of Stevan as our first Volpe Fellow graduate,” Andrea Volpe says.

Only one-percent of the nation’s three million K-12 public school teachers are African-American men. South Carolina has the fewest number of African American men in the classroom, less than one percent of elementary school teachers are African American men, and over one-third of the PK-8 students are African American. Increasing the percentage of minority male teachers is directly linked to closing the achievement gap of minority students.

For more information on the Volpe Fellowship, contact Andrew Lewis at 843.953.8250 or