This week nearly 3,000 students in Tulsa Public Schools and Community Action Project summer classes will encounter a young, energized and diverse Teach for America corps of teachers in training from across the country. Janet Levit, Dean and Dean John Rogers Endowed Chair of The University of Tulsa College of Law, could not be more excited.
Dean Levit and her husband Ken, Executive Director of the George Kaiser Family Foundation, are co-chairs of the Teach For America (TFA) Regional Advisory Board and have been closely involved in planning for TFA’s grand opening of its Teacher Training Institute in Tulsa, where opening ceremonies take place Monday, June 11, at the Lorton Performing Arts Center on the TU campus. Tulsa has been selected as TFA’s ninth national training location, where some 650 corps members from five regions including Kansas City, North Carolina, Florida and Oklahoma will teach as well as take courses and live in on-campus TU housing.
Highlighting the Institute opening ceremonies will be the attendance of Wendy Kopp, CEO and Founder, whose undergraduate senior thesis at Princeton was the basis for TFA’s founding and growth to more than 33,000 participants. A moderated question-and-answer session will be led by Dr. Geoffrey Orsak, incoming University of Tulsa president. Teach for America began placing teachers in Tulsa classrooms in 2009, and the new Tulsa Institute is the result of a flourishing partnership based on substantial support from community partners and local philanthropists and the potential for TFA teachers to influence underserved students.
Dean Levit has been an enthusiastic proponent of the parallels between TFA’s mission and TU Law’s expanding pro bono and public service initiatives. She recently attended the TFA National Council and Board meeting in New York, where the dream of fostering transformational classrooms and schools became very a tangible goal for our own area. Building a strong community coalition will provide a pipeline into Tulsa of talented, motivated leaders in education from many of the top colleges and universities in the country.
For local TFA corps member bios and blogs, visit their website.