Member Spotlight - July 2017

Each month, a Pre-Lee member or family is featured in hopes this gives you a glimpse into our community and a better understanding of who we are how we serve. Registered members can connect with the individuals below through the members-only portal on OrgSync.  Not a member? JOIN TODAY!

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.