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.
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“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.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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.
ELA Teacher and Athletic Director
Freire Charter School
Darren deployed with the 4th Squadron, 9th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division to Afghanistan in 2013 and to the Republic of Korea in 2015. In 2017, Darren ended his military service and began his service in the classroom.
Darren is a 2017 Delaware corps member and currently teaches eighth and ninth grade ELA and serves as the athletic director at Freire Charter School in Wilmington, DE.
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.
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.
The Faces of the Military Veterans Initiative
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 McChrystalGeneral (Ret.)Leadership Council Chair, Service Year Alliance.
Stories In The News
Brian Thompson (D.C. Region '09) on the legacy of Senator McCain and the need for continued leadership.
Read about Commander Ellington, who was inspired to pursue a new path upon learning about Teach For America.