For more than 20 years, Teach For America has been a pacesetter for education reform in the city of Houston. The same entrepreneurial spirit that made Houston the world's energy capital is working to increase educational opportunities for all of its students. Since 1991, nearly 3,000 Teach For America corps members have taught in Houston’s lowest-income schools, reaching nearly 200,000 students collectively and becoming some of our city's most prominent education leaders. Together we are building a coalition of Teach For America corps members, alumni, and community leaders that will continue to fundamentally impact Houston’s educational landscape.
Our city has a storied history of innovation in education. During the 1990s, KIPP and YES Prep charter school networks were both founded here by Houston alumni. By 2004, the Houston Independent School District (HISD), the seventh largest school district in the nation, implemented a number of advancements, including a concrete focus on creating a college-bound culture in HISD schools and a performance-based bonus pay system for teachers. While serving as chief human resources officer, Teach For America alumna Ann Best (Houston '96), played a pivotal role in strategically improving the overall talent level of the district's employees, with a strong emphasis on excellence in teaching. These reform efforts, led by current Superintendent Terry Grier, led the district to win the 2013 Broad Prize for Urban Education.
Today, corps members are a part of the nation’s most diverse city. The 2013-2014 corps is the most diverse we have ever seen, with 53% identifying as people of color and 23% coming from graduate or professional backgrounds. Corps members here also find themselves in the company of like-minded educational leaders who share the passion for educating the youth in Houston. The city is currently home to more than 1,190 Teach For America alumni, more than 800 of which are still in the field of education (still teaching, serving as principals, administrators, or school/district leaders). With 46 alumni school and district leaders, an ever-growing network of alumni in other sectors, and an establishment of several non-profit organizations targeting educational inequity, Teach For America Houston is living out its mission.