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To Teachers, With Gratitude

September 12, 2018
Celebrating educators who see the potential in their students and unlock a passion for lifelong learning

This is the time of year when America’s 74 million students return to school. It will be the start of a new school year, and in many cases, that first encounter with an inspiring teacher who will have a positive impact on a child’s life.

Parents depend on teachers to prepare their children for a lifetime of opportunity. Whether you’re a parent or not, we all depend on teachers to prepare our country’s next generation for the future. We expect a lot from teachers. In turn, teachers deserve our respect and support.

At the Walton Family Foundation, we believe that the people closest to a challenge often have the most insightful and thoughtful solutions. This belief is why we honor and lift up teachers and teaching, and why we celebrate ideas that put educators in charge of critical decisions about their classrooms, schools and profession.

Every teacher deserves the support, decision-making power and an environment that helps them to do their best for all students.
Carrie Walton Penner

We support teachers at all points of their career, whether they’re just starting out, or preparing to scale an innovative idea from their classroom to an entire school. Through partnerships with schools of education and educator development programs, we are working to honor the vision and ambitions of a new generation of teachers, so they can deliver the breakthrough lesson that inspires a love of learning in their students.

Every child deserves a teacher who recognizes their unique potential and unlocks a passion for lifelong learning.

That’s why we support educators like Alesha Harmon of Nashville who describes her role as a “facilitator for student learning and comprehensive human development.” And Barry Blackmon, the 2014-15 Atlanta Public Schools Teacher of the Year, now an assistant principal who creates an environment that “allows teachers to shape their classroom style to that of their students.” And Max Bonilla, a KIPP teacher in Houston, who helps students “develop a passion and the confidence to take on anything they want.” He says, “The icing on the cake is learning you’ve played a part in them becoming who they are in the future.”

Students deserve teachers like Alesha, Barry and Max — all 74 million of them. And every teacher deserves the support, decision-making power and an environment that helps them to do their best for all students.

The foundation is working to honor the vision and ambitions of a new generation of teachers, writes board chair Carrie Walton Penner.

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