Macheo Payne, who is graduating this month with a doctorate in educational leadership from San Francisco State University, is an Oakland native who has spent almost 20 years working at the grassroots level to improve education, particularly for youth in the African American communities.
He says his studies have helped him look at system-wide approaches to improving education for African American youth. His doctoral dissertation explored positive strategies that classroom teachers can employ to keep African American males in the classroom, providing an alternative to the zero tolerance approach that results in students being expelled or suspended.
Payne has already consulted for Oakland Unified School District’s African American Male Achievement Initiative. In the future he hopes to turn his research findings into a professional development curriculum that he can offer to teachers and public school districts.
Payne completed the three-year Ed.D. program alongside his full-time job as training director at the Lincoln Child Center, a social service agency in Oakland that provides school-based mental health services to at-risk students.
He is also director of Oakland Freedom School, a summer literacy program for African American students. Prior to his doctorate, Payne earned a bachelor’s in African American studies and education from UC Berkeley and a master’s in social work from California State University East Bay.