Greater Good

Inspiring Teachers

who Inspire Children

A Celebration of Innovation - Keller I.S.D. Education Foundation Inspiration Gala

Interview by Frank Geslani

Teachers must be tireless even when they are tired. Teachers are thankful for small victories and breakthroughs even as the work is thankless. Teaching is rewarding even when the awards are few. No one teaches for the glamour. But for one night, Keller I.S.D. teachers will be shown the appreciation they richly deserve. Theyâll be awarded for their vision and dedication. Theyâll even get to glam it up. On April 19th, the Keller I.S.D. Foundation will host its 1st annual Inspiration Gala.

This is a time to celebrate and remember,â says DâLee Marshall, the foundationâs Executive Director. âItâs about recognizing individuals who go the extra mile.â

The foundationâs credo has always been âInspiring Teachers Who Inspire Children.â They champion educational growth and excellence, awarding grants to educators who innovate in the classroom and enrich the scholastic experience. Through donations and contributions, the foundation has awarded over 75 teaching grants that, in turn, benefit thousands of students.

âI believe that a teacher must know what itâs like to feel that they have done something amazing for us,â says Debbie Barton, Chairman of the foundationâs Board of Directors. âThe Foundation is instrumental in inspiring our teachers to inspire their students. We want to move in a strong and aggressive manner to provide our teachers a voice to share their needs.â

A lot is riding on the success of this first-ever gala. Not only will proceeds from the night fund the valuable work of educators, but it will set the bar for future community involvement in events of this scale. âWithout the help of the community, we cannot meet our goals and mission,â says Barton.

âItâs not just about writing a check,â elaborates Marshall. âItâs about creating partnerships and building relationships. I see the foundation as the glue that binds schools to the community.â Marie Heil agrees. The STACC (Structured Teaching Alternative Communication Classroom) teacher at Shady Grove Elementary was recently awarded a grant to establish a Sensory Gym to help special needs students as well as students in the main population who need extra âsensoryâ time.

âIâm really excited to see how people respond,â says Heil. âIâm already hearing a lot of buzz from parents. I know some of the top companies in the area are getting involved. Going on my fifth year in Keller I.S.D., I have seen our Education Foundation becoming bigger and better every year. Iâm curious to see how the amount of grants will change from year to year.â And, Heil admits, sheâs excited to get a new dress for the gala.

The foundation aims not just to share its successes over the past year, but to show everyone a great time. âItâs not just an awards banquet,â says Marshall. âWeâll have plenty of entertainment and lots of surprises.â From high-energy drum lines to the homegrown talent of country music recording artist, Ashley Leeâa Keller High School graduate who recently opened for Toby Keithâmusic and merriment, not the roar of engines, will electrify the Texas Motor Speedway.

There are a number of ways to contribute. The foundation has been fortunate to receive strong backing from local business, including sponsorships for the gala. The events will be a way to thank corporate and community partners for their essential support, and to showcase how their contributions are put into action.

âIt is essential for corporate partners to support the school districts in which we serve,â says Leesa Vardeman of VLK Architects. âContributions to the educational foundation provide resources for teachers to initiate innovative and fun teaching opportunities for their students.â As of this writing, sponsorships are still available, but nearly sold out.

Parents also have an opportunity to buy tables in honor of a favorite teacher. In addition, attendees can enter a raffle for a luxurious wine country getaway, score unique items from the silent auction, or join an exhilarating game of heads or tails to raise additional funds.

âI think all this commotion is wonderful,â says Audrey Wilson-Youngblood, a library and media specialist at Fossil Ridge High School and another recipient of a Keller I.S.D. Foundation grant.

âEvents like this bring us visibility among corporations and in the communities where our families come from. And itâll be fun. Itâs kind of like prom for us,â she confesses. âThereâs not a lot of glamour in what we do, and a little glam is always nice.â

Sponsorships | Keller I.S.D. Education Foundationâs âInspiration Galaâ sponsorships provide the perfect opportunity to show support for the students and teachers of Keller I.S.D. Various levels of sponsorship programs available uniquely for the "Inspiration Gala.â To learn more, call (817) 744-1050.