A Champion to Many

by John Holt on Jun 16, 2017

in Alumni, Our KIPPsters, Team & Family

Entering his 20th year with KIPP Houston Public Schools, KIPP Houston Alumni Counselor Isaiah Spann has been viewed by many as a champion. As we celebrate Father’s Day, two former KIPPsters shared with us how Isaiah’s been a father-type figure in their lives.

Christine Marsh, KIPP Houston High School Class of 2010 graduate

1) Today, we celebrate Father's Day. What makes Isaiah a positive father-type figure?

He always checks in on you via a Facebook message, a text, or an email. I knew that I could reach out to him at any point in time. He is also very blunt. He isn’t afraid to tell you things you need to hear. He isn’t going to sugarcoat things. He’s going to ask you why you’re not doing what you need to do and help you improve.

2) Isaiah has been a champion to many KIPPsters throughout the years, how has he been a champion in your eyes?

I think for many of us, and especially from my grade level, we went off to college away from home, and a lot of us had to come back (to Houston) for various reasons. I was one of the people who had to come back. I decided to go to HCC (Houston Community College), and I really wasn’t sure of what to do. He was the one who said, ‘What’s your next step? Why are you being discouraged by this? Start working, do internships, figure out what you want to do and what you want to study, and get back to a University.’ He never made me feel any less for having to go to a Community College. He never made me feel like I was failing. He just said, ‘Get your head back up and keep going.’ He always asks, ‘What’s your next step? What are you going to do next?’”

3) What Father's Day message would you share for Isaiah today?

I would say thank you for not going easy on us, for always being honest even though it might hurt our feelings. At the end of the day, it’s what pushed us and got us to do what we needed to do in order to get where we are.


Shaun Wilkins, KIPP Houston High School Class of 2010 graduate 

1) Today, we celebrate Father's Day. What makes Isaiah a positive father-type figure?

He’s always checked to see what it is I may need. If it’s something he can’t do himself, he’s got his contact list or his email list to see who can help. If it is something he has done, he’s going to walk you through it. He’s willing. I can definitely say that about him. He’s willing to do anything for us or find the people who can make it happen.

2) Isaiah has been a champion to many KIPPsters throughout the years, how has he been a champion in your eyes?

I’ve seen him be an advocate for students who may feel like they are overlooked. He travels all the time, and goes to different colleges to visit KIPPsters. He meets with them, sits down, and lunch is always on him. That’s one thing I definitely appreciate.

He finds where there are hiccups, where there is trouble, and where things get out of control for you. It can be with classes, with grades, with jobs, helping the students pay for school, or just in different financial aid aspects. If a student comes up short on tuition for whatever reason, he’s going to search and dig for that money.  He does it because he cares.

He does his research just to know what it is that you’re doing, but he’s very trusting and he’ll definitely go to bat for students who are doing their part.

3) What Father's Day message would you share for Isaiah today?

I would say he’s been there more than some family has. So for me, I would consider you that, family. Keep being yourself because the world needs you. Whether you know it or not, even when you’re not having your best day, the world needs you.