Teach For America-San Diego Raises More Than $500,000 at Annual Teach For Innovation Awards Benefit


San Diego, Calif., April 6, 2018—Dr. Mary Walshok was one of four educators honored Thursday night at the second annual Teach For Innovation Awards, a benefit for Teach For America-San Diego that is held each spring at the San Diego Central Library. Nearly 200 educators and community leaders attended the dinner which raised more than $500,000 to support Teach For America’s work to improve learning opportunities at low-income schools. Top sponsors included the McGrory Family Fund, The Legler Benbough Foundation and ResMed. 
Walshok, an author, researcher and associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of the extension at the University of California San Diego, received the Honorary Teach For America Alumni Award in recognition of her lifelong commitment to systems-level innovation in education. Walshok has spearheaded many efforts to strengthen the talent pool in San Diego over the past 30 years, most recently establishing a program that allows high school students to simultaneously earn college-level certificates. She was also instrumental in establishing the Sally Ride @ UC San Diego to encourage girls to study science, technology, engineering and math.
The Teach For Innovation Awards were started in 2017 by David Lopez, the executive director of Teach For America-San Diego, as a way to recognize forward-thinking and high-achieving teachers who are dedicated to ensuring educational equity and excellence for the students of San Diego. A diverse panel of community judges selected this year’s winners from almost 40 community-sourced nominations. The three additional teachers recognized Thursday night were:

  • Cipriano Vargas, a Vista native who taught Kindergarten with Teach For America-San Antonio, before returning home and becoming the youngest member ever elected to the Vista Unified School Board. Vargas received the McGrory Award for Alumni Leadership and a $2,500 stipend.
  • Carol Cabrera, a humanities teacher who integrates physics, math and Spanish into her project-based lessons at High Tech High, got her start with Teach For America-Mississippi Delta. She was honored with the Benbough Award for Innovative Use of Technology in a Classroom and a $2,500 stipend.
  • Thomas Ohno-Machado, a special education teacher at Center for Children, was recognized with the Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. He is a first year corps member with Teach For America-San Diego and the founder of Fast n’ Furious Meal Delivery, a student-run business that is training people with disabilities to live independently.

About Teach For America – San Diego

Teach For America-San Diego was established five years ago as a local partner to help scale innovation in education. It recruits outstanding individuals to lead classrooms in under-resourced schools for a minimum of two years, and its alumni commit to working on educational equity issues in schools or in career sectors that support low-income communities. More than 350 Teach For America alumni call San Diego home today.

About Teach For America

Teach For America works in partnership with urban and rural communities in 53 regions across the country to expand educational opportunity for children. Founded in 1990, Teach For America recruits and develops a diverse corps of outstanding leaders to make an initial two-year commitment to teach in high-need schools and become lifelong leaders in the effort to end educational inequity. Today Teach For America is a force of 56,000 alumni and corps members committed to profound systemic change. From classrooms to districts to state houses across America, they’re reimagining education to realize the day when every child has an equal opportunity to learn, to grow, to influence and to lead. Teach For America is a proud member of the AmeriCorps national service network. For more information, visit teachforamerica.org and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.