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Military Veterans Initiative Military Veterans Initiative

Sergio Santiago greets students walking into school.

Supporting our veterans, members of the guard and reserve, and military spouses as they put their leadership power and skills to work in our nation’s highest-need classrooms through Teach For America.

About the Military Veterans Initiative 

Leadership. Integrity. Commitment. These are just a few of the skills that our military veterans develop during their years of service to our country. They’re also the skills that our greatest teachers exemplify in the classroom every day.

The Military Veterans Initiative was formed in 2012 to support veterans and military spouses who want to serve their country yet again by putting their leadership skills to work in the classrooms that need them most. Through partnerships with key veterans support organizations, we train military professionals as teachers in high-need schools, assist them in finding teaching positions, and support them throughout their careers as leaders in the movement for educational equity.

A Career With Meaning

In order for all children to have the opportunity to attain an excellent education, we need people who have a wide variety of personal and professional experiences to bring their talent into the classroom. More than 2,000 individuals—20% of the current corps—are teaching in low-income communities after gaining post-college work experience, and this number is growing. We are looking for people with all levels of work experience in all fields who want a career with meaning and are willing to take on this challenge.

Connect With Us 

Check back here for our upcoming events. 

“I retired after 30 years of [military] service to my country, but this commitment is far from over…I want my students to recognize that a life dedicated to caring about and helping others is a life worth choosing.”

Sequoia Aldridge

Retired Chief Warrant Officer-5, U.S. Marine Corps

Eastern North Carolina Corps Member 2015

Why We Take A Stand

Educational inequity affects not just individual children, but our entire nation—we cannot move ahead when we are leaving so many of our own behind. That’s why we’re tapping into the leadership, perseverance, and dedication to service inherent in our military veterans by recruiting them to become teachers who can play a strong role in putting their students on new life trajectories. Veterans and military spouses who join us are joining a community dedicated to their training, support, and lifelong leadership development.

How We Support Military Vets & Spouses

The Military Veterans Initiative helps to connect our military veterans and military spouse corps members and alumni with professional development opportunities that will help their unique leadership skills. We work to transition these corps members and alumni into career paths that will place them in lead roles that directly affect educational inequity. To learn more about how the Military Veterans Initiative supports corps members and alumni, please email us at

Our Military Veterans Initiative Council 

One of the ways we support the professional and personal growth of our military veterans and military spouse corps members and alumni is through our Military Veterans Initiative council. The council is comprised of veterans and military spouse corps members and alumni who act as consultants to the Managing Director of the initiative.

These council members work to ensure there is substantial support in place for veterans and military spouse corps members and alumni, as well as access to leadership mobility pathways that will sustain military involvement in the fight to end educational inequality.

Our Partners

These partners work with the Military Veterans Initiative to support the professional development of our military veterans and military spouse corps members and alumni as they continue to lead in the movement for educational equity.

Diana Pease headshot.

Diana Pease

Jacksonville and Central Florida '10

Director of Individual Giving

Teach For America

Diana is currently the Director of Individual Giving on Teach For America’s National Development team. Diana is a military spouse – her husband is a Lieutenant in the US Navy. They are stationed in San Diego. Diana’s professional journey started as a 2010 corps member in the classroom where she was a 4th grade teacher at Andrew Robinson Elementary in Jacksonville, FL. 

Umut Dursun headshot photo.

Umut Dursun

Miami-Dade '11

Recruitment Manager

Teach For America

Umut Dursun is a former Marine, award-winning saxophonist, and 2011 TFA Miami-Dade Alumni. Inspired by the impact he was able to have as a sergeant in the Marine Corps, Umut chose to use his leadership skills and continue his impact by addressing the most pressing issue facing our country today: educational inequity. His great passion is to open conversations that empower people to express themselves authentically and bring awareness to changes needed in order to create equality for all individuals.

Ben Maddox headshot.

Ben Maddox

Rio Grande Valley '07

Deputy Staff Judge Advocate

Staff of the Commandant, Naval District Washington

Ben Maddox joined Teach For America in the Rio Grande Valley and taught ninth grade special education algebra in Donna ISD. Ben oversaw a pilot credit retrieval program for failing students, coached the football team to an undefeated record, and was selected as a Leadership for Educational Equity School Board Fellow with Harlingen ISD. As a Navy JAG and military officer, Ben has served in San Diego, Japan, and Washington, D.C. He is currently assigned to the staff of the Commandant, Naval District Washington as Deputy Staff Judge Advocate. 

A Word From One of Our Partners

“The young people who join Teach For America each year are engaging in a form of national service that is focused on eliminating one of the biggest threats to our nation’s future prosperity—educational inequity.”

Stanley McChrystal
General (Ret.)
Leadership Council Chair, Service Year Alliance.

Stories In The News

John McCain’s Legacy of Service Calls Us to Enter the Arena

Brian Thompson (D.C. Region '09) on the legacy of Senator McCain and the need for continued leadership.

Military and Civilian Service Make for a Powerful Combination

Read about Commander Ellington, who was inspired to pursue a new path upon learning about Teach For America.

Sequoia Aldridge at Teach For America DC Region's 8th Annual Gala

Sequoia Aldridge (Eastern North Carolina '15) speaks about her experience as an educator and an alum of Teach For America at DC Region's 8th annual gala.