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Former high school dropout turned high school teacher, Ivy League student, and professor Joseph "Dr. J" Mathews is an author and speaker who shares his compelling story and unique insight with students and educators alike. Joseph has over 20 years of experience working with and motivating students to stay in school and pursue their dreams. Joseph is an expert mentor and teacher because of his own personal experiences with education. In his junior year, Joseph dropped out of high school due to personal and academic struggles. 

Joseph has suffered the loss of friends to street gangs, suicide, drugs, and incarceration.  For these reasons he has dedicated his life to reaching youth and transforming the communities and schools they live and learn in. Joseph’s messages of finding hope in what seem to be hopeless situations have been very instrumental in the lives of youth, families, and teachers.  His messages have inspired young people to make positive changes, work harder in school and in life because he has first-hand knowledge about how to keep students engaged and create learning environments that inspire even the hardest to reach students to strive for success.

In addition to all of his many life experiences and accomplishments, Joseph is nationally known speaker, best known for his “Edutainment” approach to education. As an artist and expert in student and family engagement, Joseph has performed for students all over the country and conducted countless professional development workshops for teachers centered around student
and family engagement. Joseph is the author of five books: Things I Wish My Teacher Knew About Me, The Dropout, Wrestling for My Life, Me and My Homies, and Why Do Boys Make Girls Cry? These books are used in schools and classrooms around the country to help foster students motivation to learn, to teach life skills and leadership development, encourage and making better and smarter choices. Joseph has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Langston University, a Master of Arts in Family and Community Education from Columbia University Teachers College and a Doctoral degree in Urban Education with a concentration in Student, Family and Community Engagement at Columbia University Teachers College.