dyson_bennett-web.jpgadult_zumba-web.jpgzumba_at_CDP-web.jpgDr. Omari L. Dyson was born and raised in Bronx, New York. After completing high school at Mt. St. Michael Academy, he attended the University of South Carolina-Columbia, where he pursued a major in experimental psychology and a minor in early childhood education.  

Soon thereafter, he matriculated to Purdue University, where he received a master’s degree in child development and family studies with a specialty in marriage and family therapy in 2003. During this time, Dr. Dyson found a passion to understand the impact that incarceration played in the lives of low-income families, mainly children. His research in this area soon turned to action as he, alongside his colleagues, developed and implemented a Rites of Passage Program to enhance the social and academic performance of youth in the Greater Lafayette, Indiana community.

By 2006, Dr. Dyson’s research interests extended to the Black Power Movement where he focused attention on the Philadelphia Branch of the Black Panther Party. Two years later, he received his doctorate in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in curriculum studies from Purdue University.

Currently, Dr. Dyson is an assistant professor in the Department of Education at South Carolina State University (SCSU). In his service efforts, he has focused on developing and implementing a Rites of Passage program that targets youth self-efficacy, while addressing the impact that obesity plays in the lives of low-income youth and families. In addition, he is the acting coordinator for the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) Program.

While serving the SCSU community, Dr. Dyson has published and co-published various works that attend to: power, post-colonialism, education, cultural studies, social transformation, action research, and educational assessment. Some of his research entails: an analysis on enslaved resistance(s) in the films Xica da Silva and Burn!; an examination on black masculinity and men’s perceptions of fatherhood; and a post-colonial study on the rise, fall, and legacy of the Philadelphia Branch of the Black Panther Party (1968-1974).

Dr. Dyson served as the keynote speaker at Mayville State’s spring semester student teacher banquet on Wednesday, April 23. Held each semester, the student teacher banquet is for all education students who have completed their student teaching experience during the semester. Mayville State University takes time to celebrate this accomplishment at the banquet. Students, along with their cooperating teachers, university supervisors, and administrators, are invited to attend.

Kate Keating-Peterson, an assistant professor in education in Mayville State’s Division of Education & Psychology, is also a certified Zumba instructor. (Zumba is an aerobic fitness program featuring movements inspired by various styles of Latin American dance and performed primarily to Latin American dance music.) Keating-Peterson invited Dr. Dyson to join in a Zumba class which she led and opened to campus and community personnel on Thursday evening, April 24. A Zumba instructor himself, Dyson led the class during part of the session. On Friday morning, Dyson shared his Zumba expertise with the children enrolled at Mayville State’s child development programs, as well.

“It was truly an honor for us to have Dr. Dyson visit Mayville State,” said Dr. Carol Enger, chair of the Mayville State University Division of Education & Psychology. “He provided some wonderful insight in diversity for our students, who will soon be teaching in classrooms of their own. The experience was invaluable.”

In an ongoing project, Dr. Dyson’s students at SCSU and Dr. Sarah Anderson’s teacher education students at Mayville State are collaborating via Skype and other interactive technology. The purpose of the collaboration is for the teacher candidates to engage in professional education experiences with candidates from a broad range of diverse groups. Among their tasks are: to understand how learner diversity can affect communication; to seek and foster respectful communication among all members of the learning community; and to realize that content knowledge is not a fixed body of facts, but it is complex, culturally situated, and ever-evolving. 

Captions for photos:

Top - Dr. Omari Dyson (left) and Dr. Robert Bennett, Professor of Psychology at Mayville State, visited during the student teacher banquet held in the MSU Campus Center Luckasen Room Wednesday, April 23.

Middle - MSU’s Lewy Lee Fieldhouse was booming during a Zumba session for the campus and community hosted by Kate Keating-Peterson and Omari Dyson.
Bottom - Dr. Omari Dyson led a Zumba session for small children at the Mayville State Child Development Programs on Friday, April 25.