Celebrating our Mothers

by John Holt on May 12, 2017

in Team & Family

“To the world you are a Mother, but to your family you are the world.” 

At KIPP Houston Public Schools, we are a Team and Family, so for this reason, to all the mothers who work here, who have students enrolled in our schools and the mothers in our communities, you are the WORLD. As we celebrate the greatness of our mothers, get to know two amazing moms here at KIPP.

Iris Blanco Herrera, KIPP CONNECT Middle School Office Manager

•    2 years with KIPP
•    Born in Houston
•    Enjoys painting, reading, dancing, movies, and volunteering
•    Sings and has always wanted to become a singer
•    Favorite quote: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” – Dr. Seuss



Why do you love being a mom and employee at KIPP? 

I love being a mom and KIPP employee because I know that KIPP constantly strives to provide the best teachers for our students. It is great to see the professional development that is offered and required for teachers. Even master teachers are observed and given feedback to make them even more amazing teachers. It lets me know that my son is getting the best education.

I never knew the real meaning of team until I got to KIPP. And the family part followed right behind. We work together, and when needed, that same team has been my family. It takes a village to raise a child, and I get that from my Team & Family not just with the 324 students we have at our school, but also with my own son.

Any mother would agree that there is no better feeling than knowing that your child is taken care of and that if anything happens, you’re two minutes away. Being able to drop-off Eric at school and walk up one floor to my office is amazingly convenient. At the end of the day, I can easily pick him up and head home. There are days when it’s hard to get him to leave school, because he truly loves it here. KIPP is an integral part of our lives.

What memories can you share of your mother? 

My mom has always been that mom that hugs and kisses you in front of your friends as she is dropping you off at school every day. I remember her being present for all events at school and the first to volunteer and chaperone school activities and trips.

One time, when I was in high school, she wasn’t able to ride the bus with us to the UIL competition because she got off work late, but she still drove there. The competition lasted much longer than expected and for a while she disappeared. It was close to 10 p.m., and we had been there for six hours. I thought she had gone to the restroom or to take a nap. Suddenly, she shows up with bags hanging off her arms with 100 crunchy tacos.

That day, she became Super MOM, not just to me, but to everyone that was there. It might not seem like much now, but I knew it was a big sacrifice for her because she only made about $350 a week. Letting my teammates and I go hungry was not an option.

How have your experiences as a teacher or an employee at KIPP made you a better mom? 

KIPP has made me a better mom because no matter what your role is in the schools, you have to be an example for all KIPPsters. That alone has shown me that I need to be the best example for my son.

KIPP has provided the best professional development that I can use, not just in my role, but also in life. At CONNECT, we have had a strong focus on social emotional learning which has taught me so many things about myself and parenting. I think this should become a requirement for everyone, not just teachers and administrators but everyone who interacts with children, especially parents.

Jennifer Dewhirst, KIPP Through College Alumni Counselor

•    17 years with KIPP
•    Born in San Diego, CA
•    Enjoys reading, knitting, and exercising outside 
•    Working towards a Masters in Spanish at the University of Houston
•    Favorite quote: “To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you  have lived. This is to have succeeded.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Why do you love being a mom and employee at KIPP?

I appreciate that KIPP affords me the ability to continue doing the work that I love while being a mom at the same time. I am blessed to have Owen in the KIPP SHINE daycare and am grateful every day for my son’s daycare teachers.

I am able to see him “at work” when I need a smile during the day. I love that my KIPP family has embraced my son and they truly enjoy seeing him and watching him grow. 

What memories can you share of your mother? 

My mom always encouraged us to read, and we made weekly trips to the library growing up. She was very supportive, but realistically so, we grew up to know we were loved, but we weren’t spoiled.

How have your experiences as a teacher or an employee at KIPP made you a better mom?

I feel that working at KIPP for so many years, and working with so many families, I’ve definitely become more understanding and patient. I have met some phenomenal parents, and hope that I can channel what I’ve learned from them to be the best mom I can be.