ABC Actions News featured St. Petersburg College English Professor Ian Wilson in a story regarding the success of Project PILOT in the 90s, which offered academic support and encouraged young Black men to enter the teaching field.
Participants in the program received a scholarship to major in special education at the University of South Florida in Tampa. That program changed his life, Wilson said.
Wilson formed a brotherhood and bond with other participants that still exists today, he said.
The program’s founder, Dr. Brenda L. Walker at USF, said she started Project PILOT because she recognized the shortage of Black male teachers in classrooms. Because of the initiative, 31 African American male graduates went on to teach children with special needs.
Wilson now teaches creative writing and English composition at SPC. He graduated with an Associate in Arts degree from what was then St. Petersburg Junior College, later earning his bachelor’s degree in Special Education, a Master of Education in Educational Leadership and Supervision, and a Master of Arts in English Education.
“One of my professional interests is to encourage students to develop teacher-student partnerships in classroom,” Wilson said in his SPC faculty biography.
Wilson also took part in Leadership SPC 2019 at the college. The professional development program includes presentations from senior SPC leadership and relationship building with colleagues throughout the college.