December 4, 2018

Five KIPP Texas – Houston Alumni Selected for National Leadership Accelerator

For Immediate Release
Ieesha Collins


HOUSTON – November 19, 2018 – Five graduates of KIPP schools in Houston have been selected to participate in KIPP’s national Alumni Leadership Accelerator program, a year-long fellowship for KIPP alumni leaders in their 20s and 30s. Ana Curo, Dolores Lozano, Jennefer Canales-Pelaez, Tasha Dennis, and Teresa Castillo are among 26 KIPP alumni nationwide who were selected as fellows this year, chosen from a competitive pool of 67 applicants nominated by their KIPP regions. KIPP partners with Management Leadership for Tomorrow to deliver the program.

The Accelerator, now in its third year, aims to support KIPP alumni in reaching top positions of leadership and decision-making at the local, state, and national levels. Selected fellows receive 12 hours of personalized, executive leadership coaching; attend the Aspen Ideas Festival; have access to networking and skill building opportunities; and join a tight-knit cohort of peers who graduated from KIPP schools across the country. Fellows in this year’s cohort attended KIPP schools in seven different communities – Baltimore, Eastern North Carolina, Houston, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York City, and Washington, D.C – and represent an array of career fields including law, finance, technology, health, education, military, and the arts.

“We believe KIPP’s alumni are poised to be leaders in whatever fields they choose,” said Rich Buery, KIPP’s Chief of Policy and Public Affairs. “We’re honored to be a part of helping Ana, Dolores, Jennefer, Tasha, and Teresa and all of the other fellows reach new heights in their careers and make the impact we know they are capable of making.”

The fellows were selected as fellows based on their achievements, leadership experience, and vision for impact, including:

  • Ana Curo graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a degree in Biology. In 2012, she joined the Air Force as a Flight Medic. She is currently attending her last semester of the Veteran to Nurse program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center.
  • Dolores Lozano graduated from Baylor University in 2014 and today works as the Project Coordinator for the NCAA Final Four 2019, Minneapolis at Turner and serves on the founding team at Impact Hub Houston. She is also an on-air personality for ESPN 97.5, SB Nation, and iHeartRadio.
  • Jennefer Canales-Pelaez graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Sociology and earned her JD at Southwestern Law School. Today, she is a Removal Defense Staff Attorney with the Coalition for Humane Immigration Right (CHIRLA).
  • Tasha Dennis graduated from Tulane University and earned her Master of Public Policy degree from New England College in 2014. Today, she works as the Advocacy Manager for KIPP Texas.
  • Teresa Castillo graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Graphic Media Marketing, and earned an MBA from the University of St. Thomas. Today, she works as the Senior Manager of Event Design and Operations at the KIPP Foundation.

Read full fellow bios here.

“These five phenomenal KIPP alumni are leaders in their own right, and have done extraordinary things in their careers already,” said Sonya Ramirez, Managing Director of the KIPP Through College program for KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston. “The Alumni Leadership Accelerator gives them a powerful opportunity to grow that leadership and expand their professional horizons, and we’re thrilled to see what they achieve in the future.”

Through this program, KIPP aims to help 1,000 KIPP alumni reach top leadership positions by 2040. This year’s cohort is the largest yet, bringing the total number of Accelerator fellows to 60.

“The Alumni Accelerator amplifies the critical voices of our alumni leaders and empowers them to make meaningful change,” said KIPP CEO Richard Barth. “Each fellow has accomplished so much in such a short time, and has great vision and clarity of purpose. This program allows them to make the most of the resources and support available, so they can deepen their impact on our world.”

About KIPP Texas Public Schools

KIPP Texas Public Schools is a nonprofit public charter school network, dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for college success and choice-filled lives. Today, KIPP Texas operates 52 public charter schools educating over 27,700 students across four regions – Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and San Antonio. KIPP Texas is part of the national KIPP network of college-preparatory public charter schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. Nationwide, KIPP students complete four-year college at a rate of 36 percent, comparable to the national average for all students and approximately three times higher than
the average of students from low-income families.