Meet Alvin Abraham
TEACH’s Executive Director
It was a postgraduate experience that ignited Alvin’s passion for education. As a Teach for America corps member in the Houston Independent School District, Alvin experienced first-hand the effects that a zip code, combined with life circumstances, can so often have on a child’s education. He was determined to help change that. Today, as the torch-bearer for TEACH’s mission, he relishes the opportunity to impact the lives of educators, students, parents and the Houston community alike – one classroom at a time.
Since stepping into the leadership role at TEACH in fall of 2020, Alvin continues to carry the torch for education, now within the community that paved his own learning, something he considers a really special honor. Prior to moving back to his native Houston, where he once served as principal of two HISD schools, Alvin was the founding dean of the Dougherty Family College at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. The program aimed at providing a pathway for low-income students to obtain a four-year degree.
Impassioned by the idea that education is a basic, universal right, Alvin is a champion for his team’s work in classrooms across Houston – ensuring every student has access to a productive and nurturing learning environment. After committing nearly two decades to the cause, he’s still energized and inspired by the “lightbulb moments” shared by both teachers and students.
Alvin’s sights are set on empowering and supporting his team, on connecting with the Houston community, and on providing the resources and strategies educators need to make a difference in the lives of thousands of students. The educating, supporting and nurturing doesn’t stop at home, however; as a father to two playful children under four, Alvin is carrying out his most fun and challenging role yet.
TEACH: What do you love most about working in education?
AA: For me, one of the most important parts of working in education is relationship-building. Every classroom is so distinct, and every teacher is so unique. It’s fun to be able to connect with people from all ages and all walks of life. Working in schools or supporting schools is a really special opportunity to impact so many people: educators, students, parents, the community.
I also love those lightbulb moments – to see a lesson be well received, learned and adopted. It’s so rewarding. At TEACH, we’re helping develop skills in teachers to make sure they can have really engaging, safe, productive and fun classrooms. Classrooms are such an exciting, energetic place to be. Getting to have those moments regularly through the course of an entire school year is not an opportunity I ever take for granted.
Lastly, I love that our impact can be tracked. You can see the progress of a teacher and of their students learning and engaging year over year. These are all things I enjoy, and getting to see them and experience them all at one place is both inspiring and amazing.
TEACH: Is there a particular moment during your time at TEACH that stands out?
AA: Due to COVID, this school year will be my first time experiencing TEACH in the classroom in person, and already, I am so energized by what I’ve been able to see first-hand. There’s simply nothing better than seeing kids learning and enjoying their time in the classroom. In a recent session, I had the opportunity to see a TEACH-certified teacher work her magic, utilizing the strategies she has learned from our team and making them her own. I could tell she was confident and happy, and it showed in how her students engaged with her. Likewise, I also had the chance to see a first-year teacher begin his coaching journey with us. To see him begin to adopt some new strategies and immediately see results and get genuinely excited about the differences those skills made was extremely fulfilling. I’m looking forward to many more moments like those.
TEACH: Who do you consider one of the great teachers in your life and why?
AA: Ms. Alexander, my Honors English teacher during my freshman year of high school. At that point in my life, I had never had a teacher who wasn’t white or who hadn’t been teaching for 20+ years. Ms. Alexander was different – and that stood out to me. She was newer to teaching and was dynamic, fun, encouraging and really engaged with our class in a way I’d never experienced before. She shared her love for theater with us by having us perform skits based on interpretations of classic texts she’d assign to us. It was the most fun I’d ever experienced as a student in a classroom. Also, I would credit Ms. Alexander for making me fall in love with reading. She encouraged me to find books that spoke to me and that I enjoyed, and that made all the difference. She had a shelf full of books by Sydney Sheldon, and I dove right into them; they were these thrilling mystery novels that were a bit racy – and I read every single one of them. I became obsessed with reading during that time in my life, and I can now attribute my love for books to her.
TEACH: When you’re not working, what do you absolutely love to do?
AA: All I want to do is play with my kids. They’re at a really fun age, where they just want to play dress-up and color and paint and play hide-and-seek… It’s so fun and sweet. It’s weird to have spent my whole career helping kids learn and to now have my own. It has been an interesting shift. I think it’s the coolest thing. I love, love, love being a dad. It’s the most fun, hardest thing I’ve ever done.
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Houston, TX, 77027
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