Teach For America is a community of changemakers and coalition-builders committed to profound systemic change in Metro Atlanta.
March 1, 2019
Across Metro Atlanta, our 1,500+ alumni continue to pursue leadership in education, politics, entrepreneurship, law, medicine, or countless other areas. In this quarterly network feature, we’re shining a spotlight on the 60+ Metro Atlanta alumni practicing law and exploring a couple of the unique, important stories of impact in our communities.
- Chris Adams (Metro Atlanta 2002) represents charter schools. He helped to pass a 2015 law allowing charter schools to use “weighted lotteries” to increase access for educationally disadvantaged students. Since then, he’s worked with half a dozen metro Atlanta charter schools to help increase their socioeconomic diversity.
- Crystal Redd (Metro Atlanta 2003) is a staff attorney with the Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation where she focuses on special initiatives to address anti-displacement and affordable housing efforts, including decreasing school transiency due to unhealthy housing conditions and evictions.
- Jason Esteves (Houston 2005) and Kandis Wood Jackson (Metro Atlanta 2008) are practicing attorneys serving on the Atlanta Public School Board of Education. Along with Eshé Collins (Metro Atlanta 2002) and the rest of the board, they're working each day to ensure the 52,000 students across 89 schools in APS have access to a quality education.
These alumni leaders are shaping a more just and equitable future for kids. Fueled both by my love for my students and the incredible paths that they created for themselves, I too attended law school to further understand the broader systems that impact students. Today, as Teach For America Metro Atlanta's new executive director, this work continues and I’m grateful it’s with such a diverse, passionate, and talented network both locally and nationally.
We know that our education system does not exist in isolation--that it’s impacted by different sectors and fields—and we’re tremendously proud of the individual and collective mark Metro Atlanta alumni continue to make across these sectors and fields and the work they do in our communities.
Pierce Hand (Metro Atlanta 2011)
- Georgia State University, J.D., Cum Laude, Law, 2016
- Emory University, BA, 2011
- Bryan Cave Leighton, Paisner LLP, Associate, Commercial Litigation
Pierce joined Teach For America in 2011 as a Spanish teacher at Mays High School. Pierce grew up in Atlanta and went to Washington High School, where he was taught by a Teach For America corps member. After his service in the corps, Pierce went to law school and served as the co-chair for the Caucus of Emory Black Alumni (CEBA). In his role, he presented annual book sponsorships to Emory students that had made a significant impact in the black community at Emory. Pierce worked with other CEBA board members to raise funds and secure a $50,000 endowment for these book awards. Pierce is now a member of his firm’s Commercial Litigation Practice team. He demonstrates a commitment to pro bono by appearing in court for protective orders for domestic violence Victims and litigating landlord-tenant disputes. Pierce is also an active member of the firm’s LGBTO Affinity Group and Lawyers of Color Affinity Group.
“Growing up poor, I often felt inferior and powerless. Because I obtained a great education, I can now disrupt that false narrative for my pro bono clients and get them the justice they deserve.”
Jenny Virostko (St. Louis 2005)
- University of Georgia School of Law, J.D., 2011
- University of Georgia, 2005
- King & Spalding, LLC., Litigator
- Ethos Classical Charter School, Board Member
Jenny is a business litigator at King & Spalding, LLC. Before attending law school, Jennyjoined Teach For America and served three years as a middle school educator. Jenny graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia School of Law and is a member of the Order of the Coif. She has since served as an advocate for children’s legal rights with various child welfare organizations, including as a child advocate attorney for children in the foster care system and deportation of unaccompanied minors. Jenny is Board Secretary on the Governance Committee of the Ethos Classical Governing Board. Ethos Classical Charter School, a K—5 school for students in Fulton County starting Fall 2019, ensures every student is on the path to college and a life of opportunity. Jenny joined the board under the leadership of Ethos Classical’s Head of School, Emily White, who is also a Teach For America alumna.
“Serving on the Board of Ethos Classical Charter School lets me use my skills as an attorney to continue the education work that I am passionate about. I call on my experience as both an educator and a lawyer in making decisions for the school.”