'The Power of the Network' Raises Support for Strengthening the Houston Region's Public Schools

October 14, 2010

Generous Houstonians raised nearly $200,000 to help improve classroom teaching, school leadership and student achievement in the Houston region’s public schools at the second annual “Power of the Network” dinner, benefiting Houston A+ Challenge, held on October 12 at River Oaks Country Club.

Kudos went to Event Co-Chairs Yava and Milton Scott and Jacqui and Tom Castro for leading the event, which honored ExxonMobil Foundation and Dr. Rod Paige with 2010 A+ Awards for Excellence in Public Education

“ExxonMobil Foundation is honored to receive such a prominent award from leaders in public education. High-quality education is crucial to our nation’s future and ExxonMobil recognizes the need to support math and science education in the United States,” said Suzanne McCarron, president of the ExxonMobil Foundation. Introduced by founding A+ Board Chair Andrea White, Suzanne McCarron accepted the Maconda Brown O’Connor Award for Leadership in Public Education.

ExxonMobil Foundation was recognized for its leadership support of initiatives to improve math and science education for students. In 2009 alone, the Foundation contributed more than $98 million worldwide to education. Since 1999, the Foundation has invested more than $2.4 million to support Houston A+ Challenge’s successful elementary and middle school mathematics initiatives, which have helped to improve math teaching and raise student math achievement in Houston ISD.

Dr. Rod Paige, former U.S. Secretary of Education (2001-2005) and former Houston ISD superintendent (1994-2000), received the Andrea White Award for Service to Public Education.

The A+ Awards for Excellence in Public Education were established in 2009 in honor of two women who were instrumental in starting Houston A+ Challenge: founding Board Member Maconda B. O’Connor and founding Board Chair Andrea White. White presented both awards at the 2010 event.

This year, four longtime members of the Houston A+ Challenge Board of Trustees were also honored for their many contributions: Leonel J. Castillo (1997 to 2009), Jenard M. Gross (1998 to 2008), Harry M. Reasoner (1997 to 2009) and Rosie Zamora (1997 to 2009).

At the River Oaks event, the room was spotted in red – A+’s signature color – and guests were visited by Executive Director Scott Van Beck, who discussed the programs. Presenting sponsors for the event were ExxonMobil and H-E-B, which was represented by Scott McClelland, President of H-E-B Houston and a new member of the Houston A+ Challenge Board of Trustees.

Also seen in the crowd: A+ Board Chair Bill Crouch and wife Karen; A+ Board Chair Emeritus Ann Friedman and husband J. Kent Friedman, Soraya McClelland, Harriet and Joe Foster, Susan Bischoff, Regina Rogers, Beckie and Gasper Mir, Bobbi and Vic Samuels, Lesha and Tom Elsenbrook, Steve and Leticia Trauber, Merle Yarborough, Willie Alexander, Stephanie Nellons and Joni Baird with Chevron.