Fairfax Challenge Grant
Education and the need for strong and creative leaders in the education system are important to Betty Fairfax, who attended Teachers College in the 1940s. Both concerns led to Fairfax's challenge grant that helped to establish the new Dean's Fund for Minority Student Professional Development at TC.
Through the Fund, which requires Teachers College to match her gift three-to-one, Fairfax will give students of color the opportunity to "sharpen their skills and deepen their understanding of critical issues" in urban education. The Fund will facilitate the involvement of Teachers College with minority and low-income pupils, their families and their schools by providing some financial assistance for innovative projects that TC students undertake to address these issues.
"I am thrilled that Betty and her sister Jean are willing to partner with our College," said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean Darlyne Bailey. "Their belief in education as one of the primary vehicles to improve the quality of life for individuals, and for society-at-large, clearly resonates with the philosophy and practice of TC. I look forward to working with them on growing this fund to meet one of the important needs that I repeatedly hear from these students. This relationship with the Fairfax sisters is truly a win-win!"
Strong believers in educational equity, the Fairfax sisters are committed to strengthening educational institutions and supporting educators that are implementing this goal. Recently, they endowed the Betty H. and Jean E. Fairfax Fund in Support of Public Education in Cleveland, Ohio. It funds innovative programs in the public school systems and in non-profit agencies that promote and monitor public education.
As a counselor at Central High School, Fairfax is fiercely devoted to helping the disadvantaged young people. She starts her day making wake-up calls to students with attendance problems. On Saturday mornings, she visits the homes of students who were not in school. She's been known to drive around low-income areas, looking for students who are truant or who are drop-outs to encourage them to return. Now at 85, she's at school every day. Fairfax has worked more than 50 years in the Phoenix Union High School District. She's had a lot of students under her watchful eye in that time.
Published Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2005