Mrs. Brown-Tatum attended Adams Hill Elementary, E. M. Pease Middle School and Oliver Wendell Holmes; all NISD schools. She attributes much of her personal growth to her middle school resource teacher, Mr. Paul Feola, whom she says “always believed in me and instilled a strong work ethic in his students.” Northside's curriculum is based on six "Pillars of Character," developed by the Josephson Institute. The pillars are: Caring, Citizenship, Fairness, Responsibility, Respect, and Trustworthiness. Brown-Tatum will represent the Pillar of Fairness. Teachers weave lessons about the pillars into classroom activities. The six alumni serve as the centerpiece at the Foundation's annual fundraising gala and each must make a commitment to visit schools and speak with students.
A poster of the current year's Pillars hangs in all 6,000 classrooms in Northside to remind students that everyone has the potential to be a Pillar of Character. Each honoree must make a commitment to visit Northside schools and speak with students. “Our hope is when we talk about these character traits and have people epitomize those character traits it will make a difference in how these students grow and learn,” said Katie Reed, a member of the Board of Trustees and a founding member of NEF. “When students get to meet them, they are very impressed and the Pillars usually have a good message to deliver to students.”
Former Pillars of Character include United States Senator John Cornyn and Texas Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson. “I think everyone has a dream to share their own story with the aim of truly making a difference in the world,” says Brown-Tatum. “This distinction from my childhood school district provides the optimal outlet for me to encourage children and young adults to never give up and overcome any obstacle that may be placed in their path. I was once a troubled youth and went on to enjoy a successful and lucrative professional career. To represent the Pillar of Fairness means a lot to me because often I was not treated fairly in the world but never let that deter me from personal morals and values.”
The Northside Education Foundation is an independent non-profit corporation promoting quality education in the Northside Independent School District located in San Antonio, Texas. The Foundation's mission is to foster community involvement in innovative educational programs by generating and disbursing funds and other resources to provide enrichment for Northside students.
Mrs. Brown-Tatum is the author of Saltwater Taffy and Red High Heels: My Journey through Breast Cancer. The memoir follows her from a 2007 stage IIIA diagnosis through surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and recovery. She was also named a 2009 Blazing Star Award Recipient from The Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and a 2006 Women on the Move from Texas Executive Women. Additionally, the Houston Business Journal selected her as a 2009 40 under 40 award recipient and the firm was named the 4th Fastest Woman-Owned Business in Houston in 2007. Visit www.crystalcommunicates.com for more information.
For more information or to purchase tickets to the gala, contact Bonnie Ellison at the Northside Education Foundation at 210.397.8599 or visit http://foundation.nisd.net.
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Crystal Clear Communications is a full service public relations firm and advertising agency with offices in Texas and Louisiana.