“Our Shared Future” Summit Commitments

“Our Shared Future”: 2016 Student-Led Education Summit

Participant Commitments

On August 2nd at the historic Julia Ideson Library, the Houston ISD Student Congress hosted the “Our Shared Future”: 2016 Student-Led Education Summit with nearly 50 round-table panelists and more than 60 audience members. These panelists included five state representatives and senators; seven business leaders; four non-profit leaders; three school board members; nine educators and professors; eight community advocates; three education lawyers; and seventeen high school students and recent graduates.

These leaders, who often have conflicting opinions and rarely sit at the same table together, brainstormed common ground alongside student panelists to collectively and individually create specific, measurable, and actionable commitments towards the future of the 5 million Texas public schoolchildren. Pictures can be seen here.


Their commitments for action are listed here:

Ailyn Gonzalez (HISD Student Congress) commits to continue to provide a voice for students while in college in Missouri.

Andrew Brennan (National Field Director, StuVoice.org) commits to providing support/strategy to the HISD Student Congress during the next legislative session, connecting them with national media to help tell student stories, and amplifying the voices of Houston students to a national audience.

Andrew Dewey (Vice President, Houston Federation of Teachers) commits to using local and national resources for training teachers in working with HISD and working to increase voting participation by putting voting registration in schools.

Andrew Farias (Research Chair, HISD Student Congress) commits to working with Janet Pozmantier to explore and potentially develop a mental health curriculum for HISD schools.

Ashlea Graves (Director, HISD Government Relations) commits to participating in and offering resources to student-led summits in the future.

Berlinda Mojica (Communications Director of ONE Houston) commits to publishing brief white paper to make a better and informed position on student discipline issues, and to continue amplifying student voices from Beechnut Academy to be heard.

Celina Moreno (Mexican American Legal Defense Fund) commits to fight for fair and adequate funding, advocate for adequate school funding in the state legislature, and work with students on how to get creative in order to get voices heard.

Demetron Dotson (Issues Chair, HISD Student Congress) commits to work with Roy Watson to help get industry professionals into schools.

Diana Tang (Director of Leadership Development, Teach for America) commits to hosting a series of house meetings in August with students, parents, and community leaders about the school-to-prison pipeline and commits to meet with the HISD Student Congress to talk about collaboration and coalition building.

Dr. Ruth Lopez Turley (Director, Houston Education Research Consortium) commits to producing research informative to HISD.

Dr. Stephen Klineberg (Founder, Kinder Institute) commits to complete his book “Prophetic City: Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America” to help ensure universal access to quality education in Houston from birth to college, from cradle to career.

Janet Pozmantier (Director, Harris County School Behavioral Health Initiative) commits to addressing mental health needs for HISD students.

Jessica DeBoe (Speaker, HISD Student Congress) commits to organizing 100 high school students for a trip to the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

Juliet Stipeche (Director of Education, City of Houston) commits to assisting in obtaining facilities for further HISD Student Congress events as well as working with the Student Congress in future activities and endeavours.

Kelly Frels (Bracewell LLP) commits to continue advocacy for early childhood education and other programs that will provide a quality education for all of Houston’s children.

Kenneth Huewitt (Interim Superintendent, Houston ISD) commits to fighting together with other board members to effectuate change in HISD and informing new HISD Superintendent Dr. Richard Carranza about the summit and HISD Student Congress.

Leah Barton (Chair, EMERGE Fellowship) commits to sending her son to an HISD school, getting business leaders involved in the classroom, and continuing to grow EMERGE, which sends high-achieving low-income students to college.

Louis Malfaro (President, Texas American Federation of Teachers) commits to working with HISD and other school districts to better support community schools and to continue fighting the A-F ratings given to schools and districts in Texas.

Mario Salinas (Mi Familia Vota) commits to providing non-partisan voter registration to the community.

Mike Holland (COO of Marek Systems) commits to continue to connecting young men and women with education curriculum and opportunities that match their skills and interests.

Rep. Alma Allen (Texas House of Representatives) commits to working alongside HISD to work together on bills they would like passed, fighting against bills that threaten public education, and providing transportation to Austin for members of the HISD Student Congress.

Rep. Cecil Bell Jr. (Texas House of Representatives) commits to pursuing career and technology options for HISD students

Rep. Gene Wu (Texas House of Representatives) commits to raising the juvenile jurisdiction age and identifying other juvenile issues that can be used to end the school to prison pipeline.

Rep. Ron Reynolds (Texas House of Representatives) commits to meeting with HISD Student Congress students as well as continuing to fight for education and fostering more discussion and dialogue in the senate concerning education.

Rhonda-Skillern Jones (Houston ISD Board Member) commits to pushing district to provide resources to HISD students including librarians, social workers, and counselors.

Rocio Villalobos (Texas Appleseed) commits to offering data and other resources to the HISD Student Congress for their lobbying efforts.

Roopa Gir (Director, iEducateUSA) commits to partner with HISD Student Congress to provide summer programs for elementary school students in her mentorship program, iEducate USA and working to implement iEducate in other local school districts.

Roy Watson (Chair of Workforce Development, Chevron Phillips Chemical) commits to bringing the Chevron association to schools and inviting them into the classroom to teach students and offer them opportunities of career readiness.

Scott Van Beck (Director, Houston A+ Challenge) commits to not leave the existing model of teaching and learning in education by identifying the moral and ethical responsibility of changing teaching.

Sen. Sylvia Garcia (Texas Senate) commits to refilling legislation concerning community schools in education.

Alpa Sridharan (Community Voices for Public Education) commits to getting 100 parent voices to the Texas State Legislature.

Tracy Davis (Director Retail Management Program, UHD) commits to getting industry professionals involved in HISD.

Uyiosa Elegon (HISD Student Congress) commits to meeting with state representatives regarding student education issues.

Zaakir Tameez (Founding Speaker, HISD Student Congress) commits to proposing student-voice related legislation in the Texas Legislature.



Other panelists included:

Amy Fan (Fmr. Speaker, HISD Student Congress) 

Angela Cotie (Project Executive, Gilbane Building Company)

Anna Eastman (Houston ISD Board Member)

Billy Reagan (Fmr. Superintendent of Houston ISD)

Bobby Tudor (Chairman, Tudor, Pickering, & Holt) 

Carlos Duarte (Texas Director, Mi Familia Vota) 

David Thompson (Partner, Thompson & Horton LLP) 

Dawona Miles (Maritime Education Coordinator, Port of Houston Authority) 

Jennifer Wagley (Director, Avenue CDC)

Kelly Krohn  (Director, TEACH)

Rita Farias (Director, American Latino Center)

Wanda Adams (Houston ISD Board Member)

Yamanda Wright (Texas Appleseed)

Nine other high school students


Student organizers included:

Zaakir Tameez (CVHS ’15)-  Invited all participants, created the summit agenda, and moderated the summit.

Jessica DeBoe (HSPVA ’17)- Designed the video presentation, chaired the student house meeting, commissioned and edited summit photographs, and co-moderated the summit.

Amy Fan (Bellaire ’16)– Invited all audience members, created social media content prior to the summit, created the summit agenda, and live-tweeted the summit.

Andrew Farias (Energy Institute ’17)– Designed summit handouts, created the summit agenda, and documented participant commitments.

Zoe Parker (Debakey ’17)– Invited all audience members, designed the video presentation, oversaw participant and audience registration, and kept time during the summit.

Ailyn Gonzalez (Davis ’16)– Created social media content prior to the summit, oversaw participant and audience registration, designed the video presentation,  oversaw thank you cards, and participated as a student round table representative.

Uyiosa Elegon (Debakey ’16)– Designed summit handouts, delivered lunch, and participated as a student round table representative.

Jalesha Bass (Yates ’17)– Created social media content prior to the summit and designed the video presentation.

Daniel Okulu (Westbury ’19)- Recorded interviews for the video presentation.

Demetron Dotson (Austin ’17)-Assembled summit microphones and participated as a student round table representative.

Juliana Dunn (CVHS ’15)– Created the summit agenda, designed nameplates, and oversaw participant and audience registration.

David Valerio (CVHS ’15)- Created the summit agenda and oversaw participant and audience registration.

Kate Ham (HSPVA ’16)– Designed summit handouts and nameplates.

Amna Ali (Debakey ’16)– Created social media content prior to the summit.



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