Close this search box.

15 Years Later: Why These TFA Memphis Alumni Still Choose901

Blog by Jeff Hulett

Teach for America Memphis is celebrating its 15 year anniversary of making moves in Memphis. After all these years, members of their very first teaching cohort are still choosing 901.

It’s hard to believe Teach For America Memphis has been doing its thing in the 901 since 2006. Fifteen years is a long time and there are many big wins over the years to lift up and celebrate. One thing they are most proud of is the retention and connection to their alumni.

As TFA Memphis strives to build equitable education for all, they often lean on those who have been it is since the beginning—people like Michael Whaley, Tim Ware, Anne Duvall and Nick Getschman.

These TFA alumni are just as passionate about Memphis now as they were back in 2006 as the very first TFA Memphis corps members. 

Anne Duvall
K-12 Teacher, St. Jude Research Hospital
TFA ’06: Special Education, East High School

I choose Memphis because living and teaching here has given me constant joy and purpose.

Nick Getschman
Executive Director, Veritas College Preparatory Charter School
TFA ’06: Physics, East High School

“I first chose 901 because I wanted to be in a place where I could make a difference. Today, I still choose 901 because the work isn’t finished and this place is now home.”

Tim Ware
Executive Director, Memphis Grizzlies Preparatory Charter School
TFA ’06: High School Teacher, Frayser High School

I still choose Memphis because Memphis chose me. From the students and families, to the leaders in those communities, from educators, to faith leaders, to businesspeople, to those serving in public office, to those agitating for the public good, to those working to keep us healthy and safe – everywhere I have turned, Memphis chose me. The DNA of Memphis and my DNA are the same – we grit and grind all day.  Memphis is me and I am Memphis. I chose Memphis 15 years ago and today; I still choose Memphis.”

Michael Whaley
High School Commissioner, Shelby County District 5
TFA ’06: ESL, Getwell Elementary

I still choose 901 because of the unique ability for new and native Memphians alike to make a difference in the future of our community. What started as a short-term stay quickly turned into a long-term home with the chance to positively influence Memphis for generations to come.”

Are you passionate about education in our city and are inspired by these accomplished leaders? Consider making a gift to Teach For America Memphis, and be sure to choose “Memphis” from the drop down menu. 

TFA by the Numbers

  • Since 2006, over 1400 people have completed the Teach For America program. 
  • Currently, there are 170 Teach For America corps members in Memphis between their first and second years.
  • There are 664 Teach For America alumni in Memphis.
  • The vast majority of local alumni (86%) are still working in education, with 424 teachers, 13 school leaders, 32 deans/assistant principals, and 5 school systems leaders.
  • 431 of our local alumni are not originally from Memphis.
  • 140 of our local alumni completed their Teach For America commitment in other regions, but moved to Memphis afterwards.

The Impact

Local Organizations/Businesses Started by Teach For America Alumni:

Local Schools Founded by Teach For America Alumni:

  • Memphis College Prep: Mike Whaley (’06)
  • Vertias College Prep: Tim Ware (’06)
  • KIPP Memphis Collegiate High: Richard Bailey (’06)
  • KIPP Memphis Academy Middle: Andy Bobowski (’08)
  • Memphis RISE Academy: Jack Vuylsteke (St. Louis ’09)
  • Aurora Collegiate Academy: Ciji Pittman (Atlanta ‘05)
  • Grizzlies Prep: Elizabeth Simpson (’06)
  • KIPP Memphis Academy Elementary: Jennifer Molinsky (NYC ’06)

Learn more about Teach for America Memphis here.

Share Article:

More Articles