According to Dr. John H. Lounsbury, one of the founders of the middle school movement, “Dr. Walter Gill is an uncommon common man who knows the realities of big city schools and the diverse, often alienated youth they serve as do few others.” Teaching in Urban America: A Formula for Change is a must read for all public school educators. Each chapter ends with it’s own set of references, therefore contributing to the strength of the text by adding opportunity for further research. Educators will be forced to begin to understand what it takes to educate all children. The book contains ideas for adoption for all levels of education from policy makers, administrators, teachers, parents and counselors who claim an interest in the pursuit of excellence for urban children and youth.
Walter Gill is a teacher, author, artist, actor and university professor. He was the first African American to graduate from the prestigious Baltimore City College High School, the third oldest school in the country, and is a member of the school’s Hall of Fame. He obtained a B. S. in art from Morgan State College (now University) and received his Masters and Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
For 22 years he was a university administrator or professor and left a recommendation for tenure at the University of Nebraska at Omaha to return to Baltimore. Dr. Gill spent a total of 26 years as an art and social studies teacher, counselor for at-risk youth and delinquent males, director of a boys club and a year-long project for inner-city African American middle school males, and as a social worker in foster care.
As an artist, he has engaged in painting, collages, photography, clothes design, crafts, ceramics, and has won two best actor awards in community theatre. His previous books are Issues in African American Education (1991) and A Common Sense Guide to Non-traditional Urban Education (1997). Dr. Gill attempts to walk in the image of his father, Dr. Robert L. Gill, who wrote The History of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and the Men Who Made Its History.
At present, Dr. Gill teachers in the College of Education at Towson University (Maryland), promotes his original design, “I Love Baltimore – The Harbor City” tee shirts, and serves on two boards for children in foster care. His Islamic name is Wali Hakeem, meaning wise friend, and is influenced by Booker T. Washington’s statement, “Call education what you will, unless it serves the masses, it falls short of its highest end.”
“Dr. Gill’s book is a must read for public school educators. He identifies educational obstacles, challenges us to rethink our strategies, and offers interesting interventions to affect positive change for young people. I particularly appreciate his emphasis on the need to teach children how to become good parents.”
-Roger F. Harris, PH.D., Superintendent, CEO
Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
“This book is a wonderful compilation of thoughts and ideas and a must read for all persons who understand that what we do with our youth today will impact all of our lives for many years to come.”
-Dr. Jennifer Giddings Brooks, Director, Center for Urban Education
Texas Christian University
“Dr. Gill is an educator’s educator. He practices what he preaches and writes about effective tools for success in today’s learning environments.”
-Alif Muhammad, Instructional Coach, Hampshire Educational Collaborative/
Department of Youth Services, Massachusetts
“Dr. Gill’s teaching style is amazing. It was a great experience being taught and seeing how he teaches. His style is fit for every student. No matter who was in his class or how they were feeling, they always left the class happy. I will always thank him for his help and encouragement.”
-Jermaine S., Former Student
Woodbourne Residential School
“Dr. Gill has provided us with a diagnostic prescription formula for addressing the ills in urban education today. This book gives hope to those who have been defined as hopeless, and inspiration to those whose mission is to educate the irregular learners.”
-Sandra Ann Howard Simmons, Director of Student Support
The SEED School of Maryland
“Dr. Gill has dared to compassionately discuss how important “touching” and “physical education” is in the learning environment. These two areas have in some ways contributed to distress and unhealthy human beings. His book is a must read for anyone seeking truth and solutions for young people for their holistic growth.”
-Solluna M. Moyoah, Holistic Health Practitioner
San Diego, California
“Dr. Gill’s book has become a cornerstone of my course. And how often does a professor actually find a text that students actually want to read?”
-Dr. Morna McNulty
College of Education, Towson University
“Dr. Gill has developed innovative strategies to motivate middle school students to succeed in urban schools. It will help them improve their standard of living for them self and for their families.”
Mother of a middle school male, Baltimore, MD