Teacher quit corporate job to make difference

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On Sept. 12, 2001, Andre Mountain submitted his resignation and booked a flight home.

The terrorist attacks a day earlier jarred him, and he no longer wanted to sit in a cubicle of a Merrill Lynch office in New Jersey, performing the tedious task of verifying a long list of stock prices before a sale could be finalized.

The attacks reminded him how short life is, he said, and he wanted to serve the interests of the community rather than those of a corporation.

"Teaching was always nagging at me in the back of my mind," Mr. Mountain said.

Both of his parents are educators, so he enrolled in the Professional Standards Commission's Teacher Alternative Preparation Program. He now teaches at Monte Sano Elementary School, where he is the only male teacher, something he hopes to change as one of the state's TAPP ambassadors.

As an ambassador, he speaks to school systems and universities about the TAPP program and to community groups about becoming a teacher. He is especially pushing for men to change their career paths and become elementary schoolteachers. Today he will update the commission on his efforts.

Teaching has proved to be a more fulfilling career, Mr. Mountain said.

"No one at Merrill Lynch stopped and thanked me for clearing their trade," he said, adding that parents thank him regularly.

As a teacher, the rewards come each time he sees a child achieve, Mr. Mountain said, recalling, as an example, a former pupil with speech problems who is now enrolled at John S. Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School.

"You can't do it for a paycheck," he said. "This is by far more meaningful, more long-standing."

Many of the children lack a male role model, so he becomes a brother or a father to them, Mr. Mountain said. As a role model, he wants boys to realize their potential to become more than a rapper or a professional athlete.

In 2006, the number of male teachers hit a 40-year low, according to the National Education Association. In Georgia, male teachers accounted for 18.9 percent of teachers, one of the lowest percentages of any state.

Reach Greg Gelpi at (706) 828-3851 or greg.gelpi@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (13) Add comment
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Asitisinaug
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Asitisinaug 03/12/09 - 01:19 am
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Great job Mr. Mountain. I am

Great job Mr. Mountain. I am sure you are making a positive difference in the lives of many young people. Keep up the good work, it is appreciated by many.

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 03/12/09 - 01:54 am
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Our children need to see more

Our children need to see more dignified, upstanding males in their classrooms and in all the other areas of their lives. Our children need more such men like Mr. Mountain.

Dixieman
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Dixieman 03/12/09 - 06:45 am
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Thank you, sir. Great life

Thank you, sir. Great life and great article. Also this gentleman is professionally dressed, not like so many government school teachers who dress like slobs and then wonder why the kids do not respect or obey them. Thank you again.

juantez
254
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juantez 03/12/09 - 07:01 am
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People like this is what news
Unpublished

People like this is what news is all about, we need more story like this, but good stories do not sale news papers . Keep up the good work Sr.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 03/12/09 - 08:47 am
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We need well spoken teachers.

We need well spoken teachers.

double_standard
166
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double_standard 03/12/09 - 09:06 am
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The example Mr. Mountain sets

The example Mr. Mountain sets is one we all could follow in these times "serve the interest of the community rather than those of a corporation."

RogueKnight
221
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RogueKnight 03/12/09 - 10:02 am
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Mr. Mountain, I salute you,

Mr. Mountain, I salute you, sir.

aaa
2
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aaa 03/12/09 - 10:37 am
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Excellent.

Excellent.

Edward B. Turner
69
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Edward B. Turner 03/12/09 - 11:23 am
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Another true REAL local hero!

Another true REAL local hero!

sprintman
0
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sprintman 03/12/09 - 11:47 am
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I wish school's could have

I wish school's could have more male teacher's.

H222
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H222 03/12/09 - 12:36 pm
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WOW!! What a class act.

WOW!! What a class act. Although it is not enough, I thank you for being a role model, not only to children, but also to adults. Your commitment is inspiring.

pofwe
5
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pofwe 03/12/09 - 07:08 pm
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Wonder if he will accept

Wonder if he will accept Austin Rhode's invitation to be on his show?

mieshell
0
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mieshell 03/12/09 - 07:35 pm
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Great job!!!

Great job!!!

Rozzie2003
5
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Rozzie2003 03/12/09 - 07:45 pm
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You are my hero--you walked

You are my hero--you walked the walk instead of talking the talk. We all are proud of you.
God bless you!

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