Rod’s Redirection

Rod Teal at his office after a long day of work at Pearsontown Elementary. (Staff photo by Daija Graves)


The principal of Pearsontown Elementary made a decision during his undergrad college studies that would change the course of his life and career forever.

Rodriguez Teal, originally from Bennettsville, S.C., pursued his undergraduate education at N. C. Central University, graduating in 1986.

At NCCU, he majored in public administration and studied vigorously for the LSAT in hopes to get accepted into NCCU’s Law school.

“I didn’t come to Central to be an educator; I wanted to be a lawyer,” Teal said. “The game-changer for me was when my professor, Clarence Jones, gave me the assignment to create an afterschool program for our final grade.”

Teal created a program at W.G Pearson elementary school that targeted first-grade African-American boys. His program focused on athletics, academics and entertainment.

Teal’s work left an impact on the first graders and the entire school.

“After I finished my last day there, the entire school gave me a huge party,” Teal said. “The kids grabbed me and said, ‘Please don’t go.’ I couldn’t look them in the face and leave them.”

Teal said that he then made the decision that he wasn’t going to take the LSAT, and instead, went back to school to get certified to teach.

Teal served as an educator in Durham for 25 years and has been an administrator for 22 years and counting.

“Durham raised Rod,” Teal said. “I have spent more time in Durham more than anywhere else in the world. I came here in 1986, and I haven’t left since. I tried to go to D.C. I tried to move to Atlanta, but my love for the kids here in Durham has kept me.”

Teal is also the founder and CEO of the Brother to Brother program.  The Brother to Brother Mentoring Group mission is to nurture the academic, social, spiritual and emotional growth of young black men and women.

“I have been blessed to around a lot of good people that help show me the way,” Teal said. “The support that I received from Durham means the world to me. Brother to Brother is my of way giving back to Durham by pouring myself into the youth.”

Teal said that young men that have been through the program come back and spend time as if they never left.

“I have young men that graduated college and started families come back and show me their accomplishments,” Teal said. “It gives me a humbling feeling and it lets me know that I am doing something right.”

Teal said that building relationships are the most important thing to him.

“Once you understand relationships and how important they are then people begin to trust you,” Teal said. “If you don’t build that relationship and that brotherhood nobody no one would trust you. If someone is genuine and true you will feel it.”

Bobby Davis Jr., Teal’s mentee, said that Teal is an asset to any scene that he is on.

“He is  hardworking, thorough and  professional,” Davis said. “I hope to one day possess the confidence that he has. He has never failed to look out for me and ensure that I am going on the right path.”

Ja’Von Williams, Teal’s mentee, described him as one of the hardest-working men that he knows.

“Teal is passionate with whatever he puts his time in,” Williams said. “I have learned a great deal just by being in his presence. I know for sure that his name rings bells in the Durham community and that the love he shares for this area runs deep.”

Teal is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, Incorporated.

“Achievement is what I live by, Teal said. “With retirement around the corner, I still plan to finish my doctorate and expand the Brother to Brother program.”

Teal was the 2013 Durham Public Schools principal of the year, Spectacular Magazine Man of the Year and has a prestigious service award from the Muhammad Islamic center.

(NCCU staffwriter Carl Wesley Smith also contributed to this story.)