The Dallas Education Foundation’s Heart of Teaching Campaign Recognizes the Talent of Dallas ISD Art Educators

The Dallas Education Foundation (DEF) hosted its second annual Heart of Teaching Gala on Tuesday, featuring an evening of desserts and drinks as well as stunning dance and musical performances by Dallas ISD’s own performing arts educators.

The Foundation is a direct nonprofit philanthropic partner of Dallas ISD, with a mission to inspire community investment to accelerate student success. This year The heart of teaching campaign focused on advancing learning through the arts.

Prolific civic leader and public servant Regina Montoya, the gala’s honorary chair, said, “One of the reasons I am so proud to serve on the DEF board is that they are focused on removing barriers around access to the arts for students from Dallas ISD. “

All proceeds from the gala directly fund innovative teaching scholarships that equitably integrate the arts and learning. “Our educators have a heart for teaching, and we are incredibly excited to invest in their innovative ideas for using arts instruction to advance literacy and learning,” said Mita Havlik, DEF Executive Director.

Guests were wowed by the talent of the district’s fine arts teachers as they performed dance and musical numbers, including a flash mob, a Mariachi band, Ballet Folklorico and a New Orleans-style brass band that worked its way through the crowd.

“A good arts education is not about the product – it’s about the learning process,” said Jamie Casper, director of the Arts Education Partnership in recent article in The benefits of arts education for K-12 students. Arts education can help children engage with school, reduce stress, develop social-emotional and interpersonal skills, enrich their experiences, handle constructive criticism, improve academic achievement, and improve focus.

That’s why all proceeds from the Dallas Education Foundation’s HEART OF TEACHING gala are used to fund innovative teaching scholarships that equitably integrate the arts and learning.

“The soft skills that [students]learning in fine arts classes are those skills that are necessary to be successful in the global marketplace,” said Steven Ramirez, Bryan Adams High School Orchestra and Mariachi Director.

The Dallas Education Foundation expressed its gratitude to the following Dallas ISD performing educators who spent their personal time rehearsing and performing for the gala:

  • Alejandro Hernandez, Assistant Band Director, Raul Quintanilla Middle School
  • Cecil Neal, Band Director, TW Browne Middle School
  • Christopher Young, Group Director, Barack Obama Men’s Leadership Academy
  • Daniel Negrete, Dance Teacher, Conrad High School
  • Douglas Baskin, Retired, Carter High School
  • Felipe Diaz, Director of Mariachi and Orchestra, WE Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy
  • Hope Crockett, dance teacher, Wilmer-Hutchins High School
  • James Guyton, Teacher of Instrumental Music, Bedford Law Academy
  • Joshua Howe, Assistant Band Director, Zan W. Holmes Middle School
  • Kenneth Clark, Assistant Director/Percussion Instructor, South Oak Cliff High School
  • Maria (Lupe) Garcia, Principal Mariachi and Orchestra Director, WE Greiner Exploratory Arts Academy
  • Stephanie Martinez, Dance Teacher, ED Walker Middle School
  • Stephen Ramirez, Director of Orchestra and Mariachi, Bryan Adams High School
  • William Allen, Band Leader, South Oak Cliff High School

In addition, DEF credits Dallas ISD’s Rametria Smith, Director of Instrumental Music, and Devondria Douglas, Manager of Visual and Performing Arts, for creating the evening show.

Locke Lord LLP was the presenting sponsor of Heart of Teaching and Niagara Cares was the primary grant sponsor. Thompson & Horton and Frost Bank were partner sponsors. Supporting sponsors include the Addy Foundation, Barnes & Thornburg, Dallas Citizens Council, Dallas College Foundation, Four Day Weekend, Linebarger hGoggan Blair and Sampson LLP, Mary Kay, READYTOWORK and Texas Instruments.

“It is through public education that we will educate our future doctors, lawyers, accountants and architects, and we are proud to support Dallas ISD to help these students succeed,” said Paul Coggins, partner at Locke Lord LLP.

The Dallas Education Foundation’s 2022 Heart of Teaching campaign runs from November 1 through the last day of December. For more information on how you can support students through the Dallas Education Foundation, please visit their website.

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