Sharif El-Mekki vividly recalls every black male teacher who ever taught him: two in elementary school, two in high school.
"They were transformative figures in my life," said El-Mekki, a veteran Philadelphia educator.
For 2017, El-Mekki has a goal to organize 1,000 black men to show up for the first day of school, encouraging city youths to be their best.
By 2025, his goal is much loftier: to nearly triple the number of black men teaching in the city. To that end, he has launched the Fellowship: Black Male Educators for Social Justice.