Community Leaders Head Back to School for Third Annual Education Awareness Week

Junior Achievement and Teach For America Team Up to Celebrate the Work of Local Educators and Raise Awareness of the Need for Greater Educational Opportunities for Every Student


Providence, R.I., April 10, 2015—Education Awareness Week, hosted by Junior Achievement (JA) and Teach For America, will be held April 13-17. The event kicks off with a student-centered celebration at the State House, where Gov. Raimondo will officially proclaim the week Education Awareness Week alongside other state leaders, including Lt. Governor Daniel McKee and Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea.

Education Awareness Week draws elected officials and other leaders from across the state to serve as guest teachers and support educational excellence for all of Rhode Island’s children. These volunteers will visit the classrooms of teachers, including Teach For America corps members, and teach lessons based on their experiences in business, government, and beyond. The third annual celebration of Education Awareness Week will focus on providing students with the tools and role models for joining a competitive and global workforce.

“Equitable access to excellent education is one of our state’s most pressing issues, critical to the health of our state’s economy and the future of Rhode Island’s children,” said Heather Tow-Yick, executive director of Teach For America–Rhode Island. “By sharing their expertise in classrooms during Education Awareness Week, our accomplished guest teachers will make a lasting impression on hundreds of students and help focus attention on the importance of providing all children with the educational opportunities they deserve.”

Junior Achievement and Teach For America collaborate on national and regional initiatives to tap into their capacity to partner with communities to increase opportunities for students. Education Awareness Week is one example of this collaboration, combining JA Leaders Day, a unique program where community leaders deliver JA’s elementary programs that teach students important money-management concepts such as prioritizing needs and wants, and Teach For America Week, where guest teachers lead lessons in corps members’ classrooms during the course of the week.

Lee Lewis, president of Junior Achievement of Rhode Island, added, “Education Awareness Week demonstrates the importance of the work teachers do in the classroom every day. Junior Achievement and Teach For America are committed to providing Rhode Island youth with an education that will position them for success as adults. Our teachers do this every day by providing students with a critical foundation in core subjects. JA programs complement school curricula by helping students see the relevance of their education to their lives as successful adults.”

As a thought leader and key resource for innovative work-readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial-literacy programs, Junior Achievement of Rhode Island inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy. Junior Achievement of Rhode Island has more than 600 volunteers inspiring and empowering 10,500 students to own their economic success through experiential programs focusing on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness.

Teach For America–Rhode Island is a diverse corps of our country’s most promising leaders who commit to teach for two years in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to expand educational opportunity. This year in Rhode Island, some 60 Teach For America corps members are reaching more than 4,300 students in underserved schools while nearly 150 alumni are working across sectors to end educational inequity.

The growing body of research demonstrates the effectiveness of Teach For America corps members as classroom teachers. Recent statewide studies in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Louisiana identify Teach For America as one of the top teacher-preparation programs in each state. 

Confirmed participants include:

Education Awareness Week Proclamation Ceremony and Job Shadow – Monday, April 13, 10:00 a.m. – Rhode Island State House,
Governor’s State Room

Governor Gina Raimondo
Lieutenant Governor Daniel McKee
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner

Teach For America Guest Lessons
Tuesday, April 14

Kate Pisano - AmeriCorps Program Officer, Serve Rhode Island
Providence Career and Technical Academy, 12:47 - 1:59 p.m.

Lisa Levesque - Senior Vice President, Customer Service Strategy, Fidelity Investments
Pleasant View Elementary School, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.

Wednesday, April 15

Lisa Churchville – Principal, LGC Advisors
Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Cliff Poirier - Senior Vice President, Fidelity Investments
Highlander High School, 12:30 – 1:00 p.m.

JA Leaders Day – Thursday, April 16, 9:30 a.m., Carl G. Lauro Elementary School, Providence, RI

Carolyn Bassett - Senior Director of Development and Corporate Relations, Junior Achievement Worldwide
Lt. General (ret.) Reginald Centracchio - RI Adjutant General, Emeritus
Col. Hugh Clements - Chief, Providence Police Department
Robert D’Amico II - Managing Partner, D’Amico-Burchfield
Senator Daniel Da Ponte - Rhode Island State Senator
Ken DiSaia - Senior Vice President of Enrollment Management, Johnson & Wales University
The Honorable Jorge Elorza - Mayor, City of Providence
The Honorable Allan Fung - Mayor, City of Cranston
Russell Gaston - Senior Vice President, Coastway Community Bank
Christopher Graham - Partner-In-Charge, Locke Lord Edwards
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin - State of Rhode Island
Eric Norberg - President, Atrion SMB
Molly O’Brien - Traffic and Technology Reporter, NBC 10 News
Alaina Restivo - Director of Talent, Swipely
Sean Rosser - Owner, Specialty Hearth Products
Kathie Shields - Executive Director, Tech Collective
Richard Simone III - Vice President of Partnerships and Sponsorships, Alex and Ani
Todd Turcotte - Vice President, Capital Properties
Eric Turner - Partner, KPMG
Lauren Slocum - President/CEO - Central Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce
John Hazen White, Jr. - CEO, Taco, Inc.

About Junior Achievement of Rhode Island (JA)
Junior  Achievement  is  the  state's  largest  organization  dedicated  to  giving  young  people  the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. JA programs are delivered by corporate and community volunteers and provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, workforce readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA reaches more than 7 percent of the Rhode Island student population per year in more than 26 communities across Rhode Island. Visit for more information or connect with us on Facebook at

About Teach For America
Teach For America works in partnership with communities to expand educational opportunity for children facing the challenges of poverty. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding college graduates and professionals to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the movement to end educational inequity. Today, 10,600 corps members are teaching in 50 urban and rural regions across the country while more than 37,000 alumni work across sectors to ensure that all children have access to an excellent education. For more information, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus.

Jeffrey M. Cartee
Junior Achievement of Rhode Island

Kaitlin Gastrock
Teach For America

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