“Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and insists that they become the best that they can possibly be.” -Rita Pierson
Relationships matter at KIPP because KIPPsters matter at KIPP. When catching up with older KIPP alums, three names are heard most often when they talk about (surrogate) uncles and moms: Sam Lopez, Isaiah Spann, and Jenn Dewhirst.
Teacher. School Leader. Regional Recruiter. KIPP Culture Team. Classroom Testing. Teaching again. Sam Lopez has been working in education for 23 years with 90% of that being at KIPP.
“Students have to know you truly want the best for them,” Sam said. “You have to have a specific conversation. You have to let the students know you want what’s best and you know what they are capable of.”
After years and years with KIPP, Sam knows the importance of “Success Taking 3,” a phrase commonly used at KIPP to describe the relationship between teacher, student, and parent. Relationships take work and they take time, but when everyone does their part, that’s when the magic happens.
“My favorite memory with KIPP is when we saw the first group of our KIPPsters graduate college,” Sam explained. “When Vanessa and Lupita started graduating, we finally knew everything we had done on faith and everything we had promised families and everyone’s efforts, worked.”
Attending weddings, graduations, Quinceañeras, and even speaking at funerals has become part of Sam’s life. Children are loved beyond a typical school setting when they attend KIPP. Team & Family means truly becoming a part of KIPPster’s families.