Alumni stories: from cohort member to colleague

Our Alumni Stories series showcases short accounts from our Leadership Alumni, Charles Butt Scholars, and Scholar Alumni on the meaningful connections they’ve gained through the Leadership and Scholarship networks. 

LaTonia Amerson and Tai Ingram met in 2015 through the Raising School Leaders Harvard Leadership program. Both were campus leaders at the time and were selected to attend the National Institute for Urban School Leaders. Their cohort of Texas principals — sponsored by the Charles Butt Foundation (previously known as the Raise Your Hand Texas Foundation) — remain connected to this day. They reach out to one another for advice or to share celebrations. 

Amerson and Ingram reunited in 2021 as colleagues. Amerson now serves as the assistant superintendent of middle schools for Aldine ISD and has been charged with the task of rethinking instructional leadership for her 15 middle schools in Aldine ISD. Ingram is now the director of instructional support for Instruction Partners, a nonprofit partnering with schools and regional service providers to support excellent instruction for all students. In her previous role as a school leader at KIPP Liberation, Ingram led her campus in the implementation of blended learning strategies as part of the Raising Blended Learners initiative. Her team at Instruction Partners was hired to support Amerson in this district redesign. “It just shows you never know when someone from your cohort will come back and support your work,” says Amerson.

The passion and servant leadership both bring to their work are clear, along with the admiration the two have for one another as colleagues and friends over the years.  

“I knew Tai was amazing when we sat next to each other in those beneficial and meaningful sessions in Boston, but when I was able to see her in the work and to be able to be in the work with her … amazing. Amazing is not even a word fit to describe what she has done,” says Amerson. “From the work with Tai we’ve put systems in place, goals, aspirations … She and her team, and I think all 15 of my campus leaders would agree, that she and her team are the best things that could have happened to us as we grow and master our craft.”

“What I really love about the opportunity of working with you and your team is watching you lead with hope and love and being so deep in the trenches with your leaders – assistant principals, principals, instructional specialists, reminding them you’re not about to ask them to do anything you are not willing to do with them,” says Ingram. “It’s not just accelerating the learning of your leaders but bringing an entire community of learners along with you. And that’s really life-changing in a system.”

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