OXFORD, Miss. -- Former Ole Miss middle linebacker Jonathan Cornell has gone from breaking through offensive linemen to teaching Meridian High School students about African American literature and public speaking during his first year in the Mississippi Teacher Corps.
The February UM education student of the month, Cornell grew up as the youngest of six children in Azusa, California. He graduated from Bishop Amat High School in 2006 with a football scholarship to Ole Miss. He graduated in 2011 with a bachelor's degree in political science.
"He's become an outstanding teacher in a short time," said Aaron Johnson acting Teacher Corps program manager who nominated Cornell. "I think it's because he's extremely positive and wants to share his experiences. He came from a challenging background in California, then became a successful football player, then he became a teacher in a critical needs school. He reaches out to his students and teaches in an almost coaching fashion."
During his undergraduate years, the athlete-turned-teacher said he became intellectually inspired by several UM faculty members including political science professor Susan Allen--one of multiple teachers, he remembers, who inspired him to think deeper and even apply the mindset of a linebacker to his studies.
"I knew we were reaching him when he started drawing parallels between theories of international conflict and football," said Allen. "I have no doubt that his students in Meridian are starting to make connections between the things they learn in Mr. Cornell's class and their everyday lives."
During one of Allen's political science classes, Cornell remembers submitting drafts of a research paper while the professor continually asked him to reevaluate his work with questions such as "Why do you think this?" and "Why do you propose that?"
At first, he became frustrated. But today, he appreciates the "why" questions and tries to bring the same challenge to his students. He also applies his football experience to his new career.
"I remember Coach O used to always tell us `be a pro'," he said. "I didn't fully understand that until I joined the Teacher Corps. As a teacher you have to be a pro every day with all that you do."
The Teacher Corps offers non-education college graduates teacher training and job placement for two years in critical-needs schools across North and Central Mississippi as well as the chance to earn a master's degree in education free of charge during weekend classes and summer classes at the UM School of Education, the state's largest producer of teacher and educational leadership candidates.
A rigorous summer training program, hosted by Teacher Corps staff and faculty at Holly Springs High School with summer school students from surrounding North Mississippi school districts, is a trial by fire for new recruits.
The process is heavily based on learning by doing combined with a mentor system between Teacher Corps veterans and current members. Not unlike athletes, teachers are asked to review their performance on video and address strengths and weaknesses as classroom leaders.
"You're thrown out there and you either sink or swim," said Cornell. "The majority of us end up swimming but there are a few who end up sinking. That strengthens you."
Cornell hopes to continue his teaching career after he graduates from the program in May 2014.
The goal of the Rebel Reconnect program is to provide academic and tuition support to former Ole Miss scholarship student-athletes who left the university without completing their degree. The... Read More [+]
On the heels of yesterday's announcement of the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll, 44 Ole Miss student-athletes were named to the 2014 SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll as announced Friday by the... Read More [+]
Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive and 2014 SEC Professor of the Year Dr. John E. Hall of Ole Miss will speak on the opening day of the second annual SEC Symposium, to be held... Read More [+]
Not only did the Ole Miss women's tennis team make their sixth consecutive NCAA appearance, but the Rebels earned the ITA All-Academic Team Award for the 18th straight year, as announced Thursday. Read More [+]
While making their 21st consecutive NCAA appearance in 2014, the Ole Miss men's tennis team achieved great success in the classroom, earning the ITA All-Academic Team Award for the fourth year in a... Read More [+]
Another successful Ole Miss athletics season came to a close last month, but the accolades continue to come in for the Rebels. Seventy-nine Ole Miss student-athletes were named to the 2014 Spring ... Read More [+]
While the Ole Miss baseball team prepares for the College World Series in Omaha and members of the track and field team get ready to compete in the NCAA Championships this weekend in Oregon, it was... Read More [+]
Ole Miss men's tennis senior Johan Backstrom has been named to the Capital One Academic All-America At-Large Third Team as announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) ... Read More [+]
Things have not turned out quite as planned for Dr. John E. Hall, the Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of Mississippi. But, for the 2014... Read More [+]
Ole Miss Athletics Week in ReviewFeb. 24-March 2, 2015Track & Field - Ole Miss got SEC titles from Jalen Miller (60m), Daniel Bulmer (mile) and the distance medley relay, and the Rebels achieved their best SEC indoor finish since 1984.... read more
The calendar turned to March, as the men's and women's basketball teams march toward the SEC Tournament and postseason play. The baseball team faced perhaps its biggest challenge of nonconference play. The softball and men's tennis teams each had another... read more
The numbers and bracket projections may not be in his favor at this point, but head women's basketball coach Matt Insell is selling the NCAA Tournament selection committee on his team passing the eye test, as Ole Miss enters its... read more
BATON ROUGE, La. -- With an opportunity to perhaps lock itself into the NCAA Tournament, or at the very least enhance its resume, Ole Miss lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, falling on the road at LSU... read more
Despite the most recent home loss to Georgia on Wednesday night, Ole Miss remains a team projected to be solidly in the field, as the Rebels put their school record four-game SEC road winning streak on the line when they... read more
Here's a collection of snow days photos from Ole Miss Athletics Photographer Josh McCoy (@OleMissPix):The Pavillion at Ole Miss in winter! #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissMBB @OleMissWBB pic.twitter.com/nHyhVPlDvG-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix) February 25, 2015 Awweeee.... #SnowDay2015 #WAOM @OleMissSports @OleMissFB pic.twitter.com/R1BDZ0shvS-- OleMissPix (@OleMissPix)... read more
If recent history is any indication, Ole Miss and Georgia are likely to go down to the wire on Wednesday night. Four of the last five meetings over the last three seasons have been decided by five points or less,... read more
The defensive backs, including former Ole Miss players Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt, participated in on-field workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday in Indianapolis. Looking ahead, Ole Miss will hold its annual pro day on March 5... read more
Ole Miss Athletics Week in Review Feb. 17-23, 2015 Men's Basketball - Ole Miss posted a 2-0 mark last week with a 71-65 win at Mississippi State and a 59-57 victory over Tennessee. The Rebels improved to 10-4 in the... read more
Despite winter weather that affected many teams, it was a busy week for Ole Miss athletics. The men's basketball completed a 2-0 week and has positioned itself well entering the last two weeks of the regular season. The baseball, women's... read more
After missing the end of the 2013 season and the entire 2014 season due to recovery from a torn labrum, sophomore right-hander Brady Bramlett has been brilliant in his first two outings back in 2015, fanning 19 batters through 12.0... read more
For the second time in as many weeks, Ole Miss embarks on a Thursday-Saturday swing, returning home to host Tennessee on Saturday after a 71-65 win on Thursday at Mississippi State. During the previous week, Ole Miss was on the... read more