The start line of a student race, just after the race has begun
Mississippi River Marathon, Student 5K, February 2017

Teach For America Celebrates 25 Years of Impact in Mississippi

Our Alumni Reunion Weekend and 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Celebration will celebrate Teach For America's work towards expanding opportunity in Mississippi
Friday, February 2, 2018

GREENVILLE, Miss., February 1, 2018 – On Friday, February 9, 2018, alumni of Teach For America in the Mississippi and Arkansas regions will begin gathering for a reunion to celebrate twenty-five years of legacy and impact serving students and communities throughout the Mississippi Delta.

“We are proud of our twenty-five year history in the region,” shared Ron Nurnberg, deputy executive director for Teach For America—Mississippi.. “We look forward to welcoming members of our network to celebrate this milestone together.”

“The Alumni Reunion Weekend is an exciting opportunity to consider the scale and impact Teach For America has had in the last quarter century,” said Dr. Barbara Logan Smith, executive director. “We have over 225 alumni living in-state who are veteran teachers, school leaders, and who run programs like Mississippi First, the Rosedale Freedom Project and work in many other sectors and walks of life.  And, we are thrilled to invite the more than 2,500 alumni who have carried a little piece of this place with them wherever they live and work back to Mississippi.”

Alumni and community members will gather Friday evening, Feb 9 at the E.E. Bass Cultural Center in Greenville for conversation and cocktails.  Jenn Mohead (Teach For America—Mississippi Delta ’96) is helping to organize the event. “At Teach For America we are all about finding promising leaders to lead classrooms here in the Delta, then supporting and cultivating the leadership, relationships and learning of those folks for a lifetime.  We simply could not do that work without the support of our communities.  Friday night gives our alumni time to reconnect with each other and the community members who have supported our work from the beginning.  To have all of those folks in the same room—what an inspiration.”

A man and woman smiling in a race finisher's tent
Deputy Executive Director Ron Nurnberg, Executive Director Barbara Logan Smith

The Sixth Annual Mississippi River Marathon kicks off at 6 a.m. the following morning, Saturday, February 10. Alumni will join other members of the community as participants in the race, and Teach For America staff, corps members, and alumni volunteers will greet runners along the course and at the finish line.

“The Mississippi River Marathon continues to be a great tourism event for our area,” said Wesley Smith of the Greenville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. “The hotels and restaurants benefit from the influx of runners every year and we look forward to its continued growth. I appreciate Teach For America’s commitment not only to the classroom but to the communities they serve. The marathon is a great example of that.”

Later that day, Teach For America will host two events at the Hebrew Union Temple in Greenville. A resource fair will offer guests the opportunity to connect with professional organizations in the field of education, and a number of “Ed Talks” will showcase alumni speakers from across the country. Topics include lessons learned in the classroom, ideas for potential business ventures in the state, and reflections on how to remain connected to the mission of educational equity inside and outside the classroom. Both events are free and open to the public, and will run from 11 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. with an hour-long lunch break at noon.

“Teach For America brings many community and economic benefits to the Mississippi Delta,” said Dr. Myrtis Tabb, current chair of the board of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and recently retired associate vice president for finance and administration at Delta State University.  “A benefit that is easily recognized is the number of alums who choose to remain in the region and are making significant contributions to the area.”

The weekend will culminate at a gala fundraiser on Saturday evening at 5:30 p.m. at Delta State University’s Walter Sillers Coliseum in Cleveland, Mississippi. Attendees of the event will enjoy dinner and drinks, a brief program celebrating the legacy and impact of Teach For America in the Mississippi Delta region, and music performed by the New Orleans funk band Water Seed. Tickets are available to the public.