​​​​"Once in a generation of educational leaders emerges one who naturally but passionately
​​ motivates ​fellow teachers to lead
their students to achievement levels never before realized. ​That person is Dr. Oscar Underwood."



Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood was the first African American Indiana Teacher of the Year, Inherent Power Leadership Developer, Educator, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Pastor. He is passionately committed to unlocking personal inherent power in the lives of every individual.

​​Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood is a pastor, educator, activist, author, motivational speaker and public intellectual. In 1982, he left a career in suburban education to accept a principalship at a failing, low-income, inner-city elementary school. There, he dared to lead a team of dedicated teachers who together proved that achievement is not a matter of race or economics, but passion and determination. Within one year of implementing what is known as the “Underwood Model,” students' achievement scores, engagement and perceptions of mattering skyrocketed and student violence and apathy plummeted. These students, who were among some of the lowest achievers in the nation, were now performing at unprecedented levels. After 41 years later, his life’s work is still centered on educating students and e​radicating educational inequalities and disenfranchisement. He is the founder and President of Cornerstone Christian College Preparatory School International and Cornerstone Christian Bible College International.

In 1998, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood testified before the United States Congressional Committee on Small Businesses regarding his education strategies for maximizing achievement among K-12 students. His proven pedagogy is outlined in his book, 
Assassination of Human Potential, which describes a positive correlation between student achievement and cultivation of the “5 environments”- verbal, intellectual, social, emotional and physical. In Burden of Hope: Transition, Retention and Collegiate Black Men, he presents groundbreaking research that impacts the entire paradigm by which postsecondary education regards collegiate Black men. In it, Dr. Dowdell-Underwood challenges post-secondary institutions to maximize the scholastic achievement of collegiate Black males by engaging their inherent power, need and desire to succeed, rather than relating to them from a deficit perspective.

Dr. Oscar Dowdell-Underwood’s work has resulted in many distinctions, including being named the first African American Indiana Teacher of the Year in 1977. He is a sought-after conference speaker and education consultant. He is also politically active – challenging educational policies that marginalize students, particularly poor and minority students. He believes that all children deserve the dignity of an excellent education. Dr. Dowdell-Underwood most enjoys the time he spends teaching. His unyielding commitment to education and human development has made an unparalleled positive impact on the hundreds of students who affectionately refer to him as “Doc” or as “the teacher who changed my life.”

Dr. Dowdell-Underwood holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Indiana University, an M.S. in Educational Administration and Curriculum Development from Indiana University, a Ph.D. and Ed.S in Higher Education Leadership, Administration and Foundations from Indiana State University, and a Ph.D. in Human Potential Coaching from Cornerstone Christian Bible College International. He resides in Fort Wayne, Indiana with his wife and children.

1. Vindication of Broken Women Who Possess Deep Wells
  2. Bumblebees Can Fly: Empowering Young Men of Color
  3. Burden of Hope: Transition, Retention, and Collegiate Black Men
  4. Assassination of Human Potential​​​

Awards & Honors




 - Dr. Lowell Madden, Former Director of Elementary and Secondary Education and Teacher Education at Indiana   University - Purdue University at Fort Wayne, Indiana
Terms and Conditions​

  1. Horwitz, Tony (March 1984). "Bunche Principal: Quality is color blind.". The News-Sentinel. 
  2. Monteith, Gene (1984). "Principal demands the best.". The News-Sentinel. 
  3. Horwitz, Tony (March 1984). "Bunche Principal: Quality is color blind.". The News-Sentinel. 
  4. Davis, Karen (August 1991). "New school can effect change, educator says.". The News-Sentinel. 
  5. "Honoree: Oscar Underwood". Indiana University 1994
  6. Briggs, John (April 8, 1998). "Underwood takes tale of Cornerstone to hall of Congress". Frost Illustrated Newspaper. 
  7. Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Empowerment of the Committee on Small Business House of Representatives (March 26, 1998). "Urban Education: Approaches that Work" (Serial No. 105-44).
  8. Goldsborough, Jaclyn. "Faces of the GOP: Oscar Underwood". News-Sentinel.com. The News Sentinel. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  9. "Past Indiana Teachers of the Year". Indiana Department of Education. Retrieved September 12, 2015.