Friday, November 2, 2018

Teaching Matters 10th Annual Champions of Education

Darren Walker and Olga Votis.  “It’s been a privilege to guide Teaching Matters’ executive team over these past 10 years of expansion,” said Ms. Votis.  “The organization has done exceptional work.  I could not be more proud of our measurable impact on increasing teacher effectiveness and leadership that makes a difference in the lives of students.”
by Delia von Neuschatz

On Wednesday, Oct. 24th, in front of a packed ballroom at the Metropolitan Club, Olga Votis was honored for her ten years of service as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teaching Matters, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing teacher effectiveness.  More than $250,000 was raised at this – the foundation’s 10th Annual Champions of Education Luncheon – making the occasion its most successful fundraiser to date.  The monies raised help Teaching Matters close the achievement gap in urban public schools by helping teachers develop the skills they need to drive school-wide improvement.
An independent researcher validated Teaching Matters’ approach finding that its pairing of an excellent curriculum with coaching and teamwork produced success.  In schools with populations of greater than 80% poverty rates, students who were taught by teachers in Teaching Matters’ program achieved statistically significant and meaningful increases in writing performance and critical thinking skills.
Some of the nearly 250 attendees included Dana Creel, Ingrid Edelman, Nina Griscom, George Votis, George Votis, Jr., Tom Edelman, Larry Creel, Leo Piraino, Christine Hearst Schwarzman, Louise Grunwald, Lally Weymouth, Gabrielle Bacon, John and Jenny Paulson, Ambassador John Danilovich and Irene Danilovich, Paul LeClerc and Judith Ginsberg, Mahnaz Bartos, Patricia and Alex Farman-Farmaian, Alexia Leuschen, Nick Rohatyn, Fiona Rudin, Shirin von Wulffen, Dorilin Stoudemire, Amelia Junquera, Simone Mailman, Jamie Creel, Sara Ayres, Janet Dewart Bell, Kristin Kennedy Clark, Abby Baratta, Enrica Arengi Bentivoglio, Peter and Anne-Marie Embiricos, Tiffany Dubin, Tony Bechara, Shirin Christoffersen, Daniel Ganek, Judy Gordon Cox, Betsy Gotbaum, Cathy Graham, Sherrie Rollins Westin, Princess Alexandra of Greece and Nicolas Mirzayantz, Isabelle Harnoncourt-Feigen, Cory Laverack, Carol Mack, Anjali Melwani,  Bertita Martinez, Schuyler McBrien, Anne Prentice, Caroline Schmidt Barnett, Kathryn Spellman Poots, Alexandra Stanton and Sam Natapoff, Natasha de Mallmann, Bettina Zilkha, Veronica Bulgari, Cricket Burns, and Ellie Manko-Libby. 
“Dazzling,” “inimitable,” and “indefatigable” are the words Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, used to describe Ms. Votis in presenting her with the Champions of Education Award.  Indeed, Teaching Matters has grown significantly during Ms. Votis’decade-long tenure, doubling its reach in schools, working with over 30,000 teachers and half a million students nationwide.  “Civic service is in Olga’s DNA,” said Mr. Walker.  “She believes that every child deserves an opportunity to get on the mobility escalator.”

Thought-provoking commentary was added by keynote speaker, Daniel R. Porterfield, Ph D., President and CEO of the Aspen Institute, who maintained that good teachers possess nothing less than the power to combat the polarization of our times – a schism widened by “the fear that tomorrow won’t be as good as today.”  That’s because “effective teachers give their students the capability to create learning themselves and that power lets young people grow constantly, adapt to change, frame problems no one has ever thought to identify in order to find answers no one has ever thought to look for.”
Daniel Porterfield:  “Education is an active process and not a passive act—and once we grasp that concept, we bring an interior freedom to all that we do which makes us who we are. Teachers have the sacred and just mission of awakening that creative capacity in all within their care.”
Elizabeth Rohatyn, who founded Teaching Matters 23 years ago.
America has a $650 billion public school system, yet its schools are failing many of its students.  That’s in no small part due to the fact that education in this country is radically unequal.  Millions of urban students, as Teaching Matters attests, arrive at school already two years behind, and leave schools without even basic math and reading skills, which can set them back for the rest of their lives.  It is the mission of Teaching Matters, founded 23 years ago by the visionary Elizabeth Rohatyn, to address this inequality by developing and retaining skilled teachers, and measurably increasing their ability to give students in urban public schools an excellent education.  To find out how you can help, click here
Judy Gordon Cox and Nina Griscom
Nathalie Kaplan, Kristin Clark, and John and Jenny Paulson
Fiona Rudin and Christine Hearst Schwarzman Kalliope Karella, Carol Mack, and Peggy Siegal
Abby Baratta, Melanie Fowler, Shirin Christoffersen, and Alexia Leuschen
Alan Lesgold, Sharon Lesgold, Joseph Lewis, Janet Dewart Bell, Darren Walker, Anne Williams, and Nancy Gutierrez
Louise Grunwald, Nick Rohatyn, and Lally Weymouth Ingrid Edelman, Tony Dub, and Lizzie Edelman
Carol Mack, Leonel Piraino, Nina Griscom, Kalliope Karella, and Bettina Zilkha
Alexandra Stanton, Kirsten Krohn, Liz Leff, and Julie Roginsky
Anne Marie Embiricos and Princess Alexandra of Greece Olga Votis and Nina Griscom
Simone Mailman and Yesim Philip
Veronica Bulgari, Dana Creel, and Anne Prentice
Betsy Gotbaum, Paul LeClerc, and Judith Ginsberg Caroline Schmidt Barnett and Lynette Guastaferro
Ambassador John Danilovich and George Votis
Gabriella Stoudemire, Bertita Martinez, Elizabeth Edelman, and Dorilin Stoudemire
Patricia and Alex Farman-Farmaian Darren Walker and Sherrie Rollins Westin
Helene Comfort, Dana Creel, Olga Votis, Anne Prentice, and Ariadne Calvo-Platero
Tom Edelman, Olga Votis, and Daniel Porterfield
Claudia Laviada de Rohm, Marina Larroude, and Shirin von Wulffen
Red and Lysiane Grooms Tiffany Dubin and Alexia Leuschen
Daniel Porterfield and Tom Edelman
Tony Bechara and Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos Janet Dewart Bell
Andreas Dracopoulos and Lally Weymouth

Photographs by Patrick McMullan