Not often do you find a hidden gem in your surroundings, however, Landmark has found one in coach and teacher Baffour Osei. He works to keep his father and grandfather's education legacy alive.
Coach B, as he is known around campus, is not only the running back coach for Varsity and JV football but also the STEM teacher. Originally from Ghana, West Africa, he moved to the U.S. at age 13, to live with the McMaster family. He studied physics at Fisk University and played baseball while also attending Vanderbilt University to play football and earn his undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering. His parents still live in Ghana where his dad was in the Navy and stationed all over the world.
He came to Landmark through his connection with Dr. Jason McMaster. When Coach B left Ghana at 13, he lived with the McMaster family in California. So it was no surprise when the McMaster family were considering their move to Georgia around the time Coach B was finishing school that he was approached to come to Landmark to help start the STEM program. Coach B calls it a “happy accident” that he ended up here.
In Ghana and the Ashanti tradition, your inheritance travels not by father to son but by a man to his nephews. Coach B's great grandfather was one of the first formally educated chiefs in the Ashanti region and wanted him to remain by him. He did not send his son to school but sent other children in the family and many others in the region by paying their school fees. This tradition has been passed down from his great grandfather to his grandfather, then to his father, and now to Coach B. Together they have assisted in educating hundreds of children.
A few years ago, Landmark was recycling tablets and it sparked an idea for Coach B. He inquired as to what Landmark would do with the old tablets and Landmark donated them so he could take them to the village in Ghana where his grandmother lived. Coach B developed a curriculum and plan for an engineering program for these students in her village. Eventually, his sister suggested he share on LinkedIn the work he was doing in order to find others in the same space.
Not long after sharing on LinkedIn he became affiliated with MakersPlace and is now their Director of Curriculum. MakersPlace was already doing STEAM training for children across the Accra and so this partnership made increased the extent to which both parties could serve and now MakersPlace and Coach B partner together to continue to work with school non-profit organizations, and individual families in Ghana to bring a hands-on STEAM experience to students.
His mother reached out to him inquiring if he could bring the same curriculum and tools to the school sponsored by her church. So, the work began and he was able to bring 7 computers, a 3D printer, electronics, robots, and other technology to the church school and a similar package to another private school about an hour away. He worked over Zoom with his partners at MakersPlace in Ghana to set up the spaces and develop a plan that would bring the participating students the best hands-on engineering learning experience they could provide.
Now, as he continues to work at Landmark and also develop curriculum for the other schools with MakersPlace, MakersPlace continues to train students and teachers and implement these programs in Ghana.
Coach B shares that he tries to make almost anything about engineering. He has named it “solution engineering” as engineering is finding a solution.
Thank you for leading by example Coach B! Keep believing and you can do anything!