James & Lydia Chao, Y. Ping Sun & David Leebron
Monique & Richard Carranza, Tiffany Cuellar Neeham, Paul Needham
Cheryl Martin, emcee Ron Trevino
Doug & Winnell Herron, Andrea Alexander, Phil Williams
Soraya & Scott McClelland
Anne Mendelsohn, Phoebe Tudor
Mika Rao, Maria Bush, Kristy Bradshaw
Ronald & Regina Jackson, April & Paul Arceneaux
Margaret Alkek Williams, Jim Daniel
Monica Simmons, Rev. Leslie Smith
Wanda Adams, Diana Davila, Anastasia Anderson, Rick Cruz, Rhonda Skillern-Jones
Tristan & Raychell Love
Ann Ziker, Laurie Beiber, Ryan Dolibois, Colleen Dippel, Regina & Ronald Jackson
Ann Kennedy, Tiffany Cuellar Needham
Nanette Finger, Ellen Simmons, Winnie & Nic Phillips, Phoebe Tudor, Anne Mendelsohn, Cyvia Wolff
It’s not hard to drum up support for Teach for America. After all, no one aware of the current crisis in education in the United States could turn down an opportunity to support the noble organization that strives for educational equity and excellence. Support turned out to the tune of $1.3 million with the recent TFA benefit at Silver Street Studios.
It was a heartfelt success for all involved, in particular dinner chairs Lydia and James Chao and Y. Ping Sun and Rice University president David Leebron, the latter of whom moderated two pre-dinner discussions on Teach for America’s core mission. Joining the conversations were TFA alumni who have continued careers in education including Mark DiBella, CEO of YES Prep Public School and Brett Champion, superintendent of Klein ISD.
A lineup of dinner speakers, each Teach for America alumni, continued the focus on the lasting footprint that the organization has in the Houston area and beyond. In fact, KIPP and YES prep charter school networks were founded here by Teach For America alumni.
Highlight of the fundraising effort was the Text-To-Pledge platform in which guests were asked to help meet the $150,000 match pledge by texting on their smart phones to the assigned number. As they texted the amount pledged and their good wishes, the numbers and notes were posted on video screens around the room, guests cheered, were inspired to join in and the match was made. (It was a welcome reprieve from the Paddles Up fundraising.)
Current numbers: 215 active corps members and 1,400 TFA alumni call Houston home, more than 70 percent of them remain actively engaged in the fight for educational equity.
Teachers Best Friends: Anne Mendelsohn, Phoebe Tudor, Soraya and Scott McClelland, Maria Bush, Kristy Bradshaw, Winnell Herron, Regina and Ronald Jackson, Wanda Adams, Diana Davila, Nanette Finger, Winnie and Nic Phillips, Anastasia Anderson, Rick Cruz, Rhona Skillern-Jones and April and Paul Arceneaux.