FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                    Date: June 11, 2003

             Contact: Loretta Meeks, 206-7008


UIS Project Minority Student Support for Teaching to hold annual conference


SPRINGFIELD -- Project Minority Student Support for Teaching, a program of the University of Illinois at Springfield designed to prepare minority students for careers as teachers, will hold its 14th Annual Summer Conference Friday, June 13, on the UIS campus.

Speakers at the daylong event include Dr. Jack E. Daniels III, president of Lincoln Land Community College, and Dr. Robert Schiller, superintendent of education for the state of Illinois.

Project MSS is an effort to assist the Springfield and Decatur school districts to recruit and retain minority elementary and secondary teachers. In addition to UIS, project partners are Lincoln Land Community College, Richland Community College, Springfield District 186, Decatur District 61, and the Springfield Urban League.

Director Loretta Meeks, UIS professor of Teacher Education, explained, “There is a shortage of minority teachers, both locally and nationally, especially in the areas of mathematics, science, and English. This is one of the districts’ primary initiatives in addressing this shortage. In fact we are recognized as District 186’s primary recruitment initiative for African-American teachers.”

Students who participate in the project are recruited in their junior year of high school and make a commitment to return to the Springfield or Decatur schools for at least two years after obtaining certification. To date, 16 graduates of the project have entered the teaching force as a result of this program.

Meeks noted that Project MSS students also volunteer a minimum of 10 hours to their


communities each semester, last year donating a total of 500 hours. “In their professional and

volunteer efforts, these students are excellent assets to the Springfield and Decatur communities,” she said.

Currently participating students from UIS are India Clemons, Lester Hampton, and Kila Young (all 2003 graduates); Tijuana Akers, LaTonya Davis, Ted Harrison, Matt Nunn, Jeremy Prather, and Shaunda Waters.

Community college participants are Robert Horton, Serita Link, Artica Moore, Keesha Moore, and Gaylon Richards (all from LLCC), and Tiona Johnson from Richland.

Participants from Springfield high schools are Jarika Alexander, Emory Appleberry, Lance Dickerson, Quinn Gregory, Willie Gregory, Ashley Harden, Ashley Jelks, and Simon Wilson (all from Lanphier); Markeisha Alexander and Yo’Landa Robinson (both from Springfield); and Quianna Buckner, Adrean Davis, Shanee Davis, Kiara Hickman, Kenneth Higgins Jr., Leah Kincaid, Merissa Pryor, Veniya Robinson, Tanya Rolfe, and Nita Stowe (all from Southeast).

Participants from Decatur Eisenhower are Tiffany Jackson, LaTonya Patterson, Haley Robinson, Katrina Taylor, and Charlotte Vaughn.

Student-inductees for 2004 are Betty Archer, Marco Coelho, Diana Dobie, Merilyn Herbert, and Robert Horton.

For more information about Project Minority Student Support for Teaching, call Meeks at (217) 206-7008 or go to