Member Spotlight - July  2018

Meet the Reeds!

Meet this month's Pre-Geneva family, JD, Lisa, and their son James 'Dylan' Reed. This fam has lived on Palo Pinto for six years and counting. Dylan just finished up Pre-K at Geneva Heights so Lisa is going to give us the scoop on their experience. Spoiler alert - they loved it! Second spoiler alert - according to Lisa, Pre-G played a huge role in their decision to stay in this area. Thanks Lisa! We heart you too!!! Read on to learn more about their story.

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

We have lived on Palo Pinto now for about 6 years. We originally purchased the home as an investment property and ended up falling in love with the neighborhood. We even tried to move to Lake Highlands at one point thinking that we needed a bigger home only to realize that we missed the perks of living in the M Streets.  It’s rare that you find a neighborhood with such a cozy and close-knit community of families that also keeps you feeling young and hip because you are just a street away from your favorite restaurant, wine bar, concert venue, coffee shop, etc. We love that there is always some sort of event going on like neighborhood crawfish boils to playdates, so it definitely helps to keep life interesting! From the Dallas Children’s Theater to The Little Gym, this area really does have a lot to offer when it comes to families!

What year will your kids enter Geneva Heights? 

Dylan was in the Pre-K class at Geneva Heights this past year, and we were super impressed with the program!  I was worried that my son would get restless at 4 years old and wouldn’t like it, but he ended up loving it! A lot of parents ask me what I thought about the program, so for those of you wondering the same thing…. I can’t say enough good things about the staff and the teachers. What we liked most about the pre-k program was that they had a teacher along with 2 to 3 assistant teachers in the class, which meant that the children were getting a lot of individual attention each day. In the year that Dylan was in pre-K, we saw him really progress and grow up quite a bit. Much to my surprise, he even enjoyed going to the YMCA aftercare program. He would beg me to not pick him up early so he could play on the playground longer. I will have to admit that outside of the school itself, the Pre-G organization has played a huge role in our decision to stay in this area. I have never seen such a well-organized parent group for such young kids.  There are so many activities from Cougar Cub Soccer to WeYogis playdates going on all of the time, that these little ones already have a huge group of friends and sense of belonging before they even start Kindergarten. We are super excited that Dylan has already formed such strong bonds with children in the area, so we are looking forward to watching them all grow up together!

What do you and your husband do for a living?

JD works as a commercial litigation attorney. I work as a Google Partner and regional sales manager at a  full service  marketing firm, so let me know if you ever need help with SEO or a new website!

What are your hobbies?

When JD is not stuck up at the office, he loves to play soccer and  wrestle  with our son.  If he is lucky, he is out playing golf! One of my favorite past-times other than reading and holistic  nutrition,  is volunteering. I am currently on the board of the Texas Lyme Disease Association and the Assistant 5K director for an organization that rescues children from human trafficking called Operation Underground Railroad.

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity with the family?

As a family, we like to try new things and get out and about as much as possible! Aside from taking Dylan to soccer and tee-ball, you can find us hanging out at Glencoe Park, Hat Creek, the Lot, Klyde Warren Park, or feeding the ducks up at White Rock Lake.

 

Member Spotlight - May 2018

Meet the Attaways!

Meet this month's Pre-Lee family, Lee, Elisa, Leena, Ava and Max, their 14-year-old yellow lab. If you don't know this family yet, you will soon because they are this year's Cornhole Tournament hosts (more details on that soon). Read on to learn more about Elisa and Lee's story or should we say, Elisa's life "Pre-Lee." Sorry, we couldn't resist...

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

My husband Lee is quite the craftsman and in 2007 he remodeled a small bungalow on Llano which I happily moved into when we got married in 2009. In early 2010, we bought our current house on Velasco. Initially, we bought our house as an investment property, but 2 kids later and a neighborhood that we can't live without, we are here to stay. Our house is 100 years old this year and we can't imagine living anywhere else.

What year will your kids enter Lee? 

My oldest daughter Leena will start kindergarten this fall and Ava will start in 2020. However, I hear great things about the Pre-K program so there is a possibility that Ava could be at Lee in 2019.  

What do you look forward to most about having your kids attend Lee? 

My husband and I both went to neighborhood schools, and we love the idea that our kids could go to school with other neighborhood kids and make life-long friends like we did. We are looking forward to the dual-language program, IB program, and the many other activities that Lee offers so our kids can get a well-rounded education. As parents, we are excited to get more involved in supporting the school and our community.

What do you and your husband do for a living?

Lee works in land development and oversees the construction of residential housing communities in Dallas and surrounding areas. I am a federal law enforcement officer. 

What are your hobbies?

Lee and I both play golf and we plan to get our girls into the sport this summer. Lee also enjoys CrossFit and hunting, and now that the weather is getting better you may see me jogging in the neighborhood.  

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity with the family?

We love that we can walk to several restaurants on Greenville so Blue Goose and Dodies are some of our favorite spots to dine. As a family, we also love to go to Tietze Park, feed the ducks at White Rock Lake, and hang out with our neighbors.

Our friends in our neighborhood have become part of our family, and we can't wait to be part of the family community at Lee!

 

Member Spotlight - March 2018

Meet the Dunavants!

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's superman...oh wait, it's the Dunavants! Meet this month's family of superheroes, James, Courtney, Knox (4) and River (6 mos). When Wonder Woman mom, Courtney, isn't busy organizing our playgroups for Pre-Lee, she is busy spending time with her family on Milller Ave. and their 11-year-old labradoodle, Bubba. Check out Courtney's take on why she feels lucky to be a part of Pre-Lee.   

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

We moved from Austin, TX to Dallas in 2014

Anything in particular that drew you to the area?

We loved being semi-pedestrian and having options to walk to restaurants and bars from our house. Moving from NYC to downtown Austin and then to Dallas, we were scared of the suburbs! We like people around and close houses :) 

What year will your kids enter Lee? 

2018 and 2022

What do you look forward to most about having your kids attend Lee? 

Becoming even closer with neighborhood parents and kids. I like the diversity Lee has to offer as well. 

What do you and your husband do for a living?

I am a physician assistant and James is in finance for a private equity fund.

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity with the family?

We love Slater's 50/50 and Tietze Park. You'll also find our family of four watching football (Cowboys, OU Sooners and Mississippi State Bulldog fans).

 

Member Spotlight - february 2018

Meet the Alexanders!

Hey Pre-Lee community, meet Pre-Lee Association members, the Alexanders – Andrew, C.C., Ames (5) and Arch (2). If you've been to any Pre-Lee events or meetings, you've probably met C.C. She is actively involved in Pre-Lee which is why we wanted to give you the rundown on one of our biggest supporters and her family. C.C. and crew live in Lakewood Heights off Lakeshore and have a 12-year-old tabby cat named Scooby, who in C.C.'s words, "basically runs the show at our house."

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

Hard to believe it, but it will be 14 years in September!

Anything in particular that drew you to the area?

Lakewood Heights was quite different when we built our house in 2004, but the big trees and quaint feel drew us to the area and have kept us here since. That was way before we thought about having kids, so I am so happy to see the neighborhood evolve into the family-centric community it has become. 

What year will your kids enter Lee? 

Ames will enter kindergarten this fall (!) and Arch will enter Pre-K 4 in the fall of 2021

What do you look forward to most about having your kids attend Lee? 

I am excited about the sense of community at Lee. The administrators are incredible, and I love that my boys will get an IB education from the get-go. They have both been at Spanish House since they were one, so I am glad they can continue their Spanish in the dual-language program. I have met so many wonderful families in the Lee community, and I love how our area is coming together to make it a neighborhood school again. 

What do you and your husband do for a living?

I am a vaccine sales rep, so I sell shots to doctors and hospitals. My husband has a company that restores antique tools and machinery. 

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity with the family?

With two active young boys, we are always up for an adventure. Luckily, we have awesome neighbors with young kids so we can create fun adventures on our own block. Whether chasing the kids up and down the sidewalk as they drive their electric cars, inflating a bounce house in our front yard, making s’mores around a fire pit in our driveway, or putting a zip line up between trees for the kids to ride, something exciting always seems to be happening on Lakeshore Drive!

 

Member Spotlight - January 2018

Meet the Wainstein/Katz Family!

Hey Pre-Lee community, meet Pre-Lee Association members, the Wainstein/Katz family – Michael, Bree and Aaron. Bree gave us the "low down" on what drew them to the neighborhood, their thoughts on Robert E. Lee Elementary and more about their family. If you find yourself on Belmont Ave., look out for "Katz" and dogs, including the family pup, a rescued black lab named Sammy Jo.

What do you look forward to most about having your kids attend Lee? 

What attracts us to having Aaron attend Lee is that the parents at Lee are very involved, Lee offers the dual language program, and Aaron has the opportunity to develop long-lasting friendships with his peers in the neighborhood. Not to mention we loved how the neighborhood had a perfect feel of the city with a supportive community. And, the neighborhood has access to many options to maintain an active lifestyle, and there are families to connect with. 

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

We moved to Lakewood Heights in March of 2012. We loved the area so much that we sold our house and moved 4 houses down on the same street! 

What year will your kids enter Lee? 

Son, Aaron - fall of 2022. 

What do you and your husband do for a living? 

I am a Family Chiropractor at Uprise Chiropractic (Pre-Lee thanks you/Uprise for being a sponsor!!!), helping every member of the family, and I have additional training treating pregnant and pediatric patients. My husband Michael is a Regional Sales Manager for a medical company. 

What are your hobbies? 

I love cooking (not baking because I will ruin anything baking related), reading, music, hiking, water polo, cycling, and bravo TV 😜. I will always be a California girl at heart so I really enjoy nature...but not camping and no bugs!

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity you enjoy with your family? 

Benny's Bagels is my jam! I also love the Company Cafe and love utilizing the Green Grocer Co-op. We love rotating the parks in the area and being outside! 

Anything else we should know about you and your family?

We are huge into investing in the community in many different facets. We love this community and feel very fortunate to be involved with the Pre-Lee group! 

Member Spotlight - december 2017

Meet the Harrelson Family!

Hey Pre-Lee community, meet Pre-Lee Association members, the Harrelsons – Lacey, Mark, Landry and Parker. We recently sat down with Lacey to get the “inside scoop” on what drew them to the neighborhood, their thoughts on Robert E. Lee Elementary and more about their family. And, if you happen to be on the 6000 block of Marquita, be on the lookout for the Harrelson crew walking their 12-year-old Chihuahua named Vegas!

How long have you lived in the neighborhood?

We have lived here for 5 1/2 years. We moved from up north near Plano down to this area when we found out I was pregnant with our daughter. We had always wanted to be in this area and thought we had five years to be down here before we had school choices to make (which, back then, we assumed we would move back north when that time came). But, after living down here and falling even more in love with the area and people, we decided to stay.  And thankfully, we found Lee just a couple of blocks away!

What year will your kids enter Lee? 

Daughter, Landry (5) - fall of 2018; Son, Parker (2) - fall of 2021

What do you look forward to most about having your kids attend Lee? 

I love the small community feel of Lee, where everyone knows everyone. The IB program and dual language program are a huge bonus as well. And that we can walk to school…the kids think that’s pretty cool!

What do you and your husband do for a living? 

I’m a stay-at-home mom and my husband is head of sales for a payment processing company.  

What are your hobbies? 

Personally, I love to cook, craft with the kids and workout. As a family we love to travel, fish, watch football and go for walks.

Favorite neighborhood spot or activity you enjoy with your family? 

We love to go for walks around the lake, fish at the lake, and play at Tietze and Glencoe Park.

Member Spotlight - July 2017

Meet the Love Family!
Long-time residents of Vanderbilt Avenue & LGNA, John & Alicia Love have two daughters - 10 year old Emilia and five year old Laura - as well as a new addition, their six-month old Doberman puppy.  The Love's are looking forward to an August of big milestones as Emilia prepares to enter 6th grade at J.L. Long, and Laura takes the Kinder leap at Robert E. Lee Elementary.

John is a semi-retired engineer and, prior to taking time off to focus on her two children and 86-yr old father, Alicia worked in fundraising, government advocacy and social marketing in the non-profit sector.  John enjoys wood working, and the hobbies of Making and Hacking. Alicia enjoys gardening, reading, genealogy, and teaching through outdoor play as a Tinkergarten Leader. They spend many weekends boating on Lake Ray Hubbard, but their favorite vacation spot is Galveston Island.

When asked what excites them most about Pre-Lee and Robert E. Lee Elementary, Alicia had this to share: "There is finally a way for families who are pro-public schools to find others like them within their own neighborhood. I have experienced the changes within Lee over the past two years as my child finished 4th and 5th grade, and I am excited by what I am seeing in the teaching methods and content. I have gotten to know many more families within the Lee attendance zone through Pre-Lee, and I am especially grateful for the early childhood playgroup opportunities."  She cited her only concern at this time is that Lee will grow too much!  So we must be mindful to maintain the small, family-centered environment as this certain growth occurs.  

Pre-Lee's mission has always been rooted in efforts to educate neighbors and mobilize parents to choose the local, public option for their children's education rather than fleeing to the suburbs or private institutions. Because this is one of the most common concerns of our constituents - that a student may receive inferior instruction or support at a public institution - we truly value the insights of families who have experienced life at Robert E. Lee Elementary. The Loves offer a unique perspective, having experienced both with their daughter Emilia.  Said Alicia of Emilia attending K-1st grade at Lee, and returning for 4th and 5th grade, "I have experienced both Lee and private school, and after returning to Lee, we have never regretted it. The instruction was superior to that of the private school and more supportive of her needs as a gifted child with a learning difference."

School choice is a personal decision, and Pre-Lee recognizes that there are many reasons a family will land in one place or another.  Our hope is that as we continue to grow, we expand our resources in the form of insights such as Alicia & John's, so that our members are able to make informed decisions.  

Alicia has been a fixture in our meetings and a critical link to the Robert E. Lee PTA during Pre-Lee's formation and development over the last two years.  We're so grateful for this champion and ally, and many of us look forward to having children in school with hers over the next several  years.  

 
Member Spotlight - June 2017

Meet Wayne Garcia & Jerry Gutierrez! 
Wayne and Jerry live in a bungalow in Vickery Place with their terrier mix, Patty, and they are the shining example of how members of our community can and should have a vested interest in the neighborhood school, whether they have children or not. Wayne & Jerry believe education is paramount, and helping Robert E. Lee Elementary School is their way of giving back to the community they love and have called home since 1990.

Both realtors, Wayne and Jerry make up the team at Wayne Garcia Real Estate Group, which is a Silver Sponsor (our very first!) for the Pre-Lee Association.  Wayne loves architecture, cooking and Krav Maga - a self-defense fitness program. Jerry likes fitness training, music and bike riding on the Katy Trail. They both love to travel and their favorite destinations are Italy, France and skiing in Whistler, British Columbia.  Other fun facts:  Jerry has a great voice and, according to Wayne, missed his calling to be a voice over for animated films.  Wayne has been told his pasta dishes are restaurant caliber and he makes a mean cheesecake.

Wayne and Jerry have been registered “Friends & Family” members of Pre-Lee since the association formed. Their real estate group sponsored our November member event, where Wayne shared some fascinating market statistics about the neighborhoods that make up the Robert E. Lee Elementary attendance zone.  When asked why they’ve joined Pre-Lee, as members and sponsors, they had this to share:  “We believe that the school has huge potential. The Robert E. Lee attendance zone is in one of the most desirable, sought-after neighborhoods in the city and combined with the surge in new larger homes and wonderful parent/neighborhood participation, the seeds are planted for a top notch elementary school. We've met so many great parents and neighbors that are committed to the school. The IB program is very unique and just makes the neighborhood that much more interesting.” 

In addition their membership & sponsorship, Wayne & Jerry have also helped with photographing events and with our upcoming mail campaign.  Pre-Lee is fortunate to call them friends and partners, and we encourage other members of the community to follow their lead in support of Dallas public schools!

 

Member Spotlight - May 2017

Meet the Spires Family! 
Sarah and Jim Spires live in  Vickery Place with their one year old daughter, Parker, and their fur baby, Bella the Boxer. Sarah is a patent litigation partner at Skiermont Derby LLP, and Jim is an enterprise program manager at Santander Consumer USA - both in downtown Dallas. Sarah and Jim love trying out new restaurants, going to beer tasting events, and sitting on patios with friends, their daughter, and Bella. Jim enjoys running, and they both used to play volleyball until Sarah tore her ACL playing in Jamaica two years ago. They also both love to travel (Anguilla is very high on both of their lists), but have not gotten to travel as much as they used to since having their daughter (they're hoping to resume their traveling when their daughter is a little older).  As new parents, they are excited about getting to know other families, and even more excited about their daughter getting to know other kids in the neighborhood as she gets older - such a fun and valuable experience! 

The Spires have been registered members of Pre-Lee since the association formed, and Parker will enter kindergarten  in 2021. When asked what their biggest concerns are about navigating school choice in Dallas, Sarah and Jim echo many of our members' sentiments: "We want to make sure that we make the right school choice for our daughter as we get to know her personality, skills, and interests. There are a lot of options out there, so our biggest concern is finding all of the information, sifting through it, and putting our daughter in the right place."   The Pre-Lee Association is proud to facilitate opportunities for the Spires and all of our members to get to know each other and Robert E. Lee Elementary better as they make these exciting choices for their children!

 
Member Spotlight - January 2017

Meet the Sanchez Family! 
Carolyn & Ricardo Sanchez and their two children live in Vickery Place and have been members of Pre-Lee since we formed.  Their daughter Kelly (3) will enter kindergarten at Lee in 2019, with little brother Preston (1) following in 2021.  Carolyn and Ricardo met at a honkytonk in town called Cowboys Red River, and soon after falling in love on the dance floor, they were married. Both are transplants from other places (Carolyn from Florida and Ricardo from Mexico), but they love Dallas and it has been their hometown now for many years. Ricardo is an entrepreneur and handyman who specializes in residential remodeling. After having jobs in various parts of the city and attending grad school at SMU, Carolyn landed at Goldman Sachs downtown, and soon the couple settled into Vickery Place.  They purchased their current home in 2013 after renting for a few years. Drawn by the walkability, mature trees, and the many restaurants and parks, their love of Vickery Place has only grown thanks to the tremendous number of young families moving in. Carolyn & Ricardo are looking forward to making Lee, Long, and Woodrow even more amazing than they already are as Kelly & Preston inch closer to their school-age years.

Touting new friendships, play dates, Cougar Cub soccer and Moms Night Out as the best benefits of Pre-Lee membership, the Sanchez family is amazed at how neighbors have banded together to develop community and pride for their local school.  Like most parents who are navigating school choice, they worry about things like the students and curriculum being challenging and competitive enough in a city where private schools have been the historically dominant force.  Luckily for Carolyn and Ricardo, the Pre-Lee Association has facilitated opportunities to see how Robert E. Lee stands up against their other options, and for now they are fully-committed to their neighborhood school.