From Classroom to Boardroom: Teach For America DFW Brings Together Education Champions for Impact

Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth recently brought together education leaders, community advocates, and distinguished guests, including former First Lady Laura Bush, to explore innovative strategies for bridging the gap between K-12 education and career success.

Community leaders and education champions gathered recently for an inspiring panel discussion hosted by Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth on the transformative power of collaboration. The event took place in the Debate Room of Old Parkland.

Former First Lady Laura Bush of Dallas welcomed hundreds of guests and shared her experience serving as a teacher in inner-city Houston. TFA Dallas-Fort Worth said Bush’s remarks served as a reminder that all children deserve a quality education, and a safe and healthy childhood.

The panel featured Stephanie S. Elizalde, superintendent, Dallas ISD; Bibi Yasmin Katsev, executive director, Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth; Todd Williams, CEO, The Commit Partnership; and Wyatt Smith, founder and CEO, UpSmith. Each panelist shared their insights, experiences, and vision for North Texas’ education landscape.

Kathy Crow, board chair of Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth, described the gathering as a platform to “bring together key players in the education landscape and hear from advocates of providing an excellent education to all North Texas students.”

The event drew a distinguished crowd, including Texas State Sen. Tan Parker, Bill Payne, Lee Hobson, Anne Raymond, and Libby McCabe, as well as prominent local figures Margaret Hirsch, Dawne Tribolet, Kelsey Bridgewater Clark, and Elizabeth Wattley.

Crow noted that the event gave TFA “the opportunity to celebrate all that has been accomplished to propel educational opportunities for all students.”

Bridging the gap from K-12 to careers

The panel called for the audience to continue engaging in the community’s efforts to improve education and bridge the pathway from K through 12 to post-secondary education and the workforce.

While the Dallas community has long focused on early childhood readiness, the more recent focus is on the older end of the education pipeline. The target is to support students in finding a post-secondary option (be it a two-year or four-year program, or even a certificate) that inspires them and provides a pathway to a living wage.

The panel members agreed that workforce development and college preparatory work in K-12 should not be viewed as an either/or choice, but rather a both/and approach.

Panelists also emphasized the importance of ensuring strong talent pipelines in education and workforce development, stressing that the quality of all improvement efforts will depend on how well these systems attract, support, and retain high-quality talent.

More on TFA DFW

Teach For America Dallas-Fort Worth said it works in partnership with local districts and charter schools to expand educational opportunities for children. The organization identifies exceptional leaders, matching them with partner schools’ talent needs, and developing their leadership to make a significant impact in the classroom and beyond.

Founded in Dallas-Fort Worth in 2009, TFA DFW recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders who make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity.

TFA DFW comprises more than 1,600 alumni and corps members impacting more than 90,000 students in pursuit of “profound systemic change.”

Quincy Preston contributed to this report.

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