UPDATE: The fifth annual San Antonio Regional Public PK-12 Education Forum will be rescheduled for a later date. Details will be available about future programming once plans have been made.

Educators from Alamo Heights, Harlandale, Northside, Southwest, and San Antonio ISDs and IDEA Public Schools will take the main stage at the fifth annual San Antonio Regional Public PK-12 Education Forum that will focus on the teaching profession.

Breakfast and lunch programming for the forum will take place on March 24 at the Witte Museum. Entering its fifth year, the forum will expand programming, adding a nighttime reception to celebrate teachers at The Doseum.

“We’ve learned a lot organizing public education forums and programs over the last five years, and one lesson learned is that we need to listen to what they have to tell us,” Rivard Report Editor and Publisher Robert Rivard said. “Too often, teachers are excluded from the conversation about how we can improve public education outcomes in Texas. They are too busy teaching, reaching into their own pockets to fund classroom expenses, struggling to avoid burnout, and working so hard to make ends meet.”

Commissioner of Education Mike Morath will kickoff the luncheon, introducing a panel where Rivard will speak with educators about the impact teachers have in a child’s school experience and the major classroom challenges educators face in Texas.

Panelists include Jeff Wheatcraft, an Alamo Heights Junior School STEM teacher; Denisse Hernandez, the assistant principal at Southwest Legacy High School; Gerald Boyd, an executive principal at IDEA Public Schools; Delia McLerran, the head of schools at Young Women’s Leadership Academy; Kellie George, a middle school teacher at Harlandale Middle School; and Lacy Greco, a STEM teacher at Northside ISD’s Brauchle Elementary.

San Antonio Regional Public PK-12 Education Forum
When: Tuesday, March 24, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Where: Mays Family Center, Witte Museum

“Beyond some incredible annual recognitions in San Antonio, notably the Trinity Prize and the H-E-B Excellence in Education awards, we as a city need to do more to acknowledge the central role teachers play in the intellectual and emotional development of our children and youth,” Rivard said. “This a big start. The luncheon program will be a robust one and the evening celebration of teachers at the Doseum should be a memorable occasion.”

The 2020 Education Champion also will be named. Past champions include Teach for America Chief People Officer Laura Saldivar Luna, Education Forum founder and philanthropist Mike Burke, and H-E-B Chairman and CEO Charles Butt.

The six finalists for the 2020 Education Champion include:

  • Shari Albright, Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation president
  • Pedro Martinez, superintendent of San Antonio ISD
  • Elaine Mendoza, CEO of Conceptual Mindworks and chair of the board that governs Pre-K 4 SA
  • Marisa Perez-Diaz, director of strategic partnerships for Edgewood ISD and San Antonio representative on the State Board of Education
  • Patti Radle, co-executive director of Inner City Development and San Antonio ISD board president
  • Kate Rogers, vice president of community outreach and engagement for The Charles Butt Foundation

Albright will deliver a keynote address on the findings of a Raise Your Hand Texas poll that asked Texans about their connection to public education. The poll, modeled after a national Phi Delta Kappa poll that has been administered for several decades, seeks to “dig into Texans’ beliefs and attitudes about public education,” Albright said. The full poll results are available online.

“We [at RYHT] looked around and saw there are so many organizations devoted to promoting public education in the State that are all doing really important programmatic and policy work, but didn’t see anyone doing this kind of annual research,” she said. “Our goal was to try to figure out are Texans feeling more connected to public education … is it meeting their needs and is there a venue to talk about it.”

A breakfast panel, also held at the Witte Museum, will focus on the state of early childhood education in San Antonio and the upcoming May election to reauthorize funding for Pre-K 4 SA.

Panelists include former Speaker of the House Joe Straus, CEO of Pre-K 4 SA Sarah Baray, philanthropist Harvey Najim, and Vice President of Grants at United Way of San Antonio & Bexar County Kasi McCormick.

The new nighttime event, a teacher appreciation reception, will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. the night of the event at The DoSeum. The event will be free for all teachers in San Antonio, but an RSVP is required to attend.

The sold-out event’s proceeds go toward supporting local nonprofits’ education initiatives. In the forum’s first four years, more than $190,000 was awarded throughout Bexar County to several groups including the Brighton Center and Yes! Our Kids Can.

Disclaimer: The Charles Butt Foundation is a Rivard Report Member and Kate Rogers is a Rivard Report board member.

Editors note: Lacy Greco’s school affiliation was misidentified. This information has been corrected.

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Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.