Cristina Urena

“My education has afforded me incredible opportunities. My mission is to influence the educational system by ensuring children from urban communities receive an excellent education regardless of their financial status. I want to continue to do this work by founding my own school where we will provide children of all backgrounds with the opportunity to one day graduate from the college of their choice.”

Traci Thibodeaux

“There is no doubt in my mind that the great opportunities I have experienced in life are directly correlated to the fact that I had a high-quality K-12 education. Unfortunately, so many children are not afforded that same opportunity solely because of where they were born. I am motivated to work to ensure every child has access to a high quality school regardless of where they live.”

Rachael Sewards

“I believe that all students, regardless of their background or circumstances are capable of succeeding in the classroom, and deserve high quality classroom experiences. I believe that the achievement gap can be closed, with dedicated teachers and administrators putting students first. I believe that schools need to approach teaching of traditionally marginalized students with a ‘no-excuses’ attitude.”

Ben Samuels-Kalow

“I grew up in New York City, and I never attended my zoned school, because my family recognized flaws in a system that consigns too many students to inadequate schools. My parents and siblings impressed upon me how fortunate I was to attend these schools, and how unfair it was that it was a matter of fortune. I want to empower students in high-needs schools.”

Courtney Rodriguez Sales

“Serving as a teacher gave me the tools to manage a classroom, plan meticulously, and be reflective in my practice. Most importantly, serving as a teacher exposed me to one of the greatest injustices of our time – the achievement gap that exists between students of color and their white peers. This experience was the catalyst for my drive to impact the lives of children moving forward.”

Teshanda Middleton

“I believe all students deserve a quality education that will ensure a quality life, starting with having the foundation needed for college and career readiness; I believe this work plays an integral role in ending cycles of generational poverty; and I believe the time to close the education inequality gap is now.”