Darren Edgecomb: Principal, Palm Beach Central High School
As a prominent Black male leader. How do you motivate young Black men to refrain from
getting discouraged by stereotypes that have followed them for generations?
Stereotypes are real, said Darren Edgecomb, the principal of Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington.
He spoke about his own struggles during the early stages of his career. Born and raised in Belle Glade, employers always assumed he played football and was a physical education instructor when, in fact, he played trombone in the band and taught math.
“All that does is motivate you,” he said. “That's what it should do.”
Despite having a master's degree in mathematics, he only taught algebra I and II during his first years at Royal Palm Beach High School. He quickly noticed all the teachers and students at that class level were Black, while all the higher-level courses had white teachers and students.
“I didn't see anyone in the class that looked like me,” he said.
Edgecomb spoke with the school's principal and offered to keep teaching algebra but also take on higher-level courses to attract his students into calculus and pre-calculus, and it worked.
“Stereotype is just a word," Edgecomb said. "It's what decision you make with it.”
His advice for students: Receive your education, earn a degree
and get into a position where you can make decisions.