Published in FORBES by Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Contributor.

Dear Teachers,

You are our heroes. Every day of this pandemic, you have blown us away with your creativity, compassion, and commitment, your tenacity and heart. You have moved mountains to reach each child, wherever they are and despite the challenges that stand in your way. You’ve taught math classes while standing outside of homes, led online meditations to start the “school” day, created PE classes from your living room, filmed DIY science experiments, and found ways to check in with each kid. You’ve not only taught lessons; you have been our children’s lifeline to normalcy and stability, a tether and a point of connection. When Shonda Rhimes tweeted, “Been homeschooling a 6-year old and 8-year old for one hour and 11 minutes. Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week,” she put into words the collective appreciation of the nation’s parents.

Here’s the secret you’ve known all along but is only now clear to the rest of us: It was always true.

As leaders deeply invested in the nonpartisan, multi-sector, national effort to prepare and support 100,000 excellent preK-12 STEM teachers by 2021, we salute you. In our living rooms and kitchens, our bedrooms and makeshift one-room schoolhouses, we are standing and cheering for all the world to hear: “We love you, teachers!”

Not because it’s easy or because you get it right every day. It isn’t, and you don’t. But you’ve chosen to get in the arena and stay there. You have managed, not just during this crisis but against the backdrop of the everyday grind, to bring joy in the midst of struggle. You have taught kids from history books and stories, legends and myths in which your names do not appear. But when we tell the story of this time, the work of teachers and what you have done to educate, inspire, and connect us all will be front and center.

Even as we add our names to this letter, we know that praise without action rings hollow. Your courage during this time strengthens our resolve to tackle the systemic issues that have made it difficult for so long to get and keep great teachers, especially for our least resourced schools and communities, and especially in STEM.

On behalf of our students and our country, we the undersigned pledge to link arms with you to bring the changes in salary and work conditions, professional support and development, classroom resources and leadership that you have dreamt of, so that you can continue to fuel the dreams of our country’s children. In these uncertain times, we will stand with you not just to protect progress that’s been made in communities across the country but to make even greater strides to recognize and value the essential role of teachers.

There is an ancient teaching that the world itself rests on the breath of children when they are learning. Across these great United States, communities understand more profoundly than ever before that our very existence depends on the work you are doing. We are so grateful.

(If you want to join your name and share your appreciation with the teachers in your lives, please do!)


Grace Doramus, Chief Innovation Officer
Guadalupe Carrasco, Administrative Coordinator
Joi Rae, Chief of Staff
Julie Paturzo, Senior Manager, Partner Engagement
Kate Isenberg, Manager, Data & Insights
Kendra Danowski, Community Designer & Manager
Lauren Baier, Community Designer & Manager
Mable Yiu, Community Coordinator
Mesha Byrd, Network Manager
Monique Hoeflinger, Director of Strategy
Pomai Verzon, Strategic Initiatives Manager
Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Executive Director and Founder
Yasmin Sabrina Fodil, Chief Program Officer
A. Peterson
Alec Macaulay, Director of School & District Partnerships, Out Teach
Alice H. Gilchrist, Coordinator, S2TEM Centers South Carolina
Amanda J. Smith, STEM Outreach Liaison, Penn State University
Ambika Kapur, Program Officer, Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York
Ann Wescott, Special Education Teacher, Region 12 Connecticut
Anne Gatling, Merrimack College
Ani Martinez, Field Director, Remake Learning
Anu Malipatil, Vice President, Education, Overdeck Family Foundation, Overdeck Family Foundation Ashley Young, Science Education Program Manager, Amgen Foundation
Babette Moeller, Distinguished Scholar, EDC Center for Children and Technology
Barbara Hug, Teaching Associate Professor, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College of Education
Becky Crowe, President and CEO, Clayton Early Learning
Bethany Orozco, Statewide Recruitment & Communications Director, EnCorps STEM Teachers Program Bill Thornburgh, Executive Officer, American Modeling Teachers Association
Braeden Mayrisch, Director, Social Impact, Voya Financial Brandy Skylling
Breanna Villena, Faculty Manager, Western Governors University Brianna Donaldson, Director, Math Teachers’ Circle Network Brienne Ericson, Mom of Two Kids, Thomas Paine PTA
Brooke Haley, Event Coordinator, Youth Code Jam

Brooke Higgins
Bryan and Emily Ayscue Hassel, Co-presidents, Public Impact — on behalf of the entire Public Impact staff
Cara Wylie, Program Coordinator, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri
Carly Baldwin, Teacher, Boyd County High School
Carla Chaffin, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri
Carlos León, Director Learning Design, Mouse
Carol L. Fletcher, Director, Expanding Pathways in Computing (EPIC), The University of Texas at Austin Carolyn Landel, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Collaboration, University of Texas at Austin
Cassie Klein
Chalene Martinez
Charles King, Executive Director, Kansas City Teacher Residency
Chelsea Clinton, Vice Chair, Clinton Foundation
Cherry Thompson, Regional Director, Teaching Channel
Christine Terry, Instructional Specialist and Parent, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri Claire Wescott
Clea Matson, Teacher Professional Development, California Academy of Sciences
Colleen M Hinds-Rodgers, National Director of STEM, Teach for America
Corrie Canaday, Teachers College Program Portfolio Manager – STEM, Western Governors University Cory A. Gavitt, Senior Instructor, University of Colorado Colorado Springs
Danielle Carnival, CEO, I AM ALS
Daisy Sharrock, Project Director, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Darcy Moody, Advocacy and Program Development, Office of the Maricopa County School Superintendent
Debbie Reynolds, STEM Integration Specialist, Harrison Middle School/Baldwin-Whitehall School District
Debi Pfitzenmaier, Executive Director, Youth Code Jam
Deborah D. Sachs, Teach (STEM)3 Coordinator, University of Indianapolis
Dewayne Morgan, Director of Partnerships and Collaborations, University System of Maryland
Diana Cornejo-Sanchez, Director, HTH Teacher Center
Donna Taylor, Assistant Director of Professional Development, The STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Douglas Hodum
Dr. Aaron Popham, Interim Dean & Academic Vice President, Teachers College, Western Governors University
Dr. Lisa N. Duval, Superintendent, South Allegheny School District
Dr. Mary Urquhart, Associate Professor, University of Texas at Dallas
Dr. Nate Carnes, Center for Teaching Excellence Associate Director, University of South Carolina
Dr. Nicole Martin, Research Associate, University of Texas at Austin
Earl Legleiter, Director of Science and Mathematics Education Institute, Fort Hays State University Eduardo Cetlin, President, Amgen Foundation
Eileen Yang, Senior Manager, Genentech, Inc.
Elena Lopez, Professional Development Manager, California Science Center
Ellen Frede, Senior Co-director, NIEER
Ellie Goldberg, Doctoral Student in STEM Education, The University of Texas at Austin
Elliot Ransom, Co-CEO, UChicago Impact
Emily Lyman, Sr. Manager, Western Governors University
Fernand Brunschwig, President, STEMteachersNYC (STEM Teachers of NYC, Inc.)
Frank Cortazzo, School Board Member, South Allegheny School District

Frank Niepold, Senior Climate Education Program Manager and Coordinator, NOAA Climate Program Office
Frederick W. Freking, Professor of Clinical Education, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

Frank W. Spencer IV, Principal and Lead Futurist, Kedge and The Futures School
Gay B Stewart, Director, Center for Excellence in STEM Education, West Virginia University
Ginger Duiven
Grant Garrison
Gregg Behr, Executive Director, The Grable Foundation
Guy Harrington, President, Teaching Channel
Hank Nourse, Chief Learning Officer, New York Academy of Sciences
Hannah MacNaughton, Student, University of Dubuque
Hannah Lakin, STEM Education Specialist, Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance
Heather Roche
Heather Sopp Farnan, First Grade Teacher, South Allegheny School District
Heidi Ragsdale
Heising-Simons Foundation
Helen Corveleyn, Elementary STEM Facilitator , Hopewell Elementary School
Infosys Foundation USA
Janet Stramel, Professor, Fort Hays State University
Jaqueline Cortez Wang, Senior Director, Strategic Partnerships, International Society for Technology in Education
Jean-Claude Brizard, Senior Advisor and Deputy Director, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Jeff Hawthorn
Jeff Kennedy, Instructional Specialist, Washington University in St. Louis Institute for School Partnership Jen Foster, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri Columbia College of Education
Jennifer E. Carinci, Program Director, STEM Education Research, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Jennifer F Kuehnle, eMINTS – University of Missouri
Jennifer Gleason, Senior Educational Consultant, Teaching Matters
Jennifer Hicks, Director of K-12 STEM Engagement, Purdue University
Jennifer McCray, Associate Research Scientist, Erikson Institute’s Early Math Collaborative
Jennifer Urmson, Program Manager, Science is Elementary
Jeremy Ford, VP, Giving and Social Innovation, Dell Technologies
Jill Zeruth, Senior Manager, Teachers College, Western Governors University
Joe Spalding, Director, Initial Licensure Programs, Western Governors University
John Keller, Fiske Planetarium Director, University of Colorado, Boulder
John King, 10th U.S. Secretary of Education (Obama Administration) and President and CEO of The Education Trust.
Josie Blue, Sr. Research Coordinator, San Diego Zoo Global
Joy Starks
Julie A. Evans, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer, Project Tomorrow
Karen Willey, Naturalist, Climate Change Communications
Kate Blanchard, Managing Director, National Education Initiatives , Teach For America
Katherine Chen, Executive Director, STEM Education Center at Worcester Polytechnic Institute Katherine Mangum, MS Science Teacher and FLL Coach, St. Catherine’s School
Katherine Wilcox, Executive Director, EnCorps STEM Teachers
Kathy Renfrew, Education Specialist Wade Institute for Science Education, Wade Institute for Science Education
Kerry Branch, Education Specialist, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science/S2TEM Centers SC
Kim Boutwell, Regional Giving Manager, Dell Technologies
Kim Newman, Program Director, Murdock Charitable Trust
Kimberly Brenneman, Program Officer, Education, Heising-Simons Foundation

Kimberly DeMent, Director Advanced Programs Teachers College, Western Governors University Kinkini Banerjee, Director, Community and Network, Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
Kristy Wallace, CEO, Ellevate Network
Lauren Thompson Allen

Laura Mac
Laura M. Nickerson, Director of the STEM Teachers’ Collaborative, University of New Hampshire
Laura Wilding, aggieTEACH-Science Program Coordinator, Texas A&M University – College Station Laurie Smith, Program Manager, OC STEM Initiative
LaVerne Srinivasan, Vice President National Program, Program Director Education, Carnegie Corporation of New York
Leigh Cleaver, Out Teach
Leigh Peake, Chief Education Officer, Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Lily Zandnia, 6-8 Math Specialist, Chicago Public Schools
Lindsay Wong, 5th Grade Teacher
Lisa Brown, Professional Learning Specialist, Charles A. Dana Center at the University of Texas at Austin Loretta Kerner
Lori Price
Lynn Bryan, Professor, Purdue University
Madison Wilson
Malia Ramler, Program Officer, Heising-Simons Foundation
Maria McClain, Math Teacher, Deer Valley High School
Marie de Krieger, Teacher in Residence, California Science Center
Marisa Harford, Director of Teacher Residencies, New Visions for Public Schools
Marisa Nathan, Senior Consultant, Confianza
Marty Sixkiller
Mary Anne MCDonough
Melanie Hopkins
Melinda Higgins, Tribal STEM Advisor, CNI/Department of Energy/Office of Nuclear Energy
Melissa Thibault, Vice Chancellor for Distance Education and Extended Programs, North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics
Michelle Kendrick, Program Coordinator, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri
Monica N. Roland, Mathematics Educator
Mr. Atef Otefee
Nancy Hertz Ellis
Natalie Zartarian, Program Manager, Western Governors University
National Writing Project
New Classrooms
Nikki Brooks, Principal, Public Schools of Robeson County
Nilofer Merchant, Author, The Power of Onlyness
Pamela Brice, Education Specialist, SCCMS/S2TEMCenters South Carolina
Patrick Moyle
Patricio Herbst, Professor of Education and Mathematics, University of Michigan
Patti Curtis, STEM Fellow, U.S. Department of Education
Pradeep “Max” Dass, Professor and Director, CSTL, Northern Arizona University
Rachel Millstone, Science Lecturer/Supervisor, University of California, San Diego
Rachel Rowe, Senior Faculty Manager, Western Governors University
Ragnar von Schiber, Associate Director, Genentech
Rex Babiera, Director of Professional Learning, Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago
Rob Leichner, Secondary Math Specialist, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools
Robyn A. Yewell, Teacher, Amphitheater Public Schools, Winifred Harelson Elementary School
Rohan Pavuluri, CEO, Upsolve
Roxanne Sisak, Senior Manager, Program Faculty, Western Governors University
Russell Wong, Board Member, Community Resources for Science
Ryan Wall, Senior Manager for Program Faculty, Advanced Programs, Western Governors University Sadie Norwick, Senior Manager K-8 Programming, National Math and Science Initiative
Sagit Betser, Bay Area Discovery Museum

Samantha Lindgren
Sandy Morris
Sara Leikin, Director, Strategic Initiatives, National Math and Science Initiative
Sarah Freundlich, 5th Grade Teacher, Lexington Local Schools
Sarah C. Soule, Senior Manager of Teacher Professional Development, California Academy of Sciences Schools That Can
Scott Heimlich, Vice President, Amgen Foundation
Scott Pulsipher
Sharon Sherman, Professor, Rider University
Sherry Cockerham
Sonya Pryor Jones, Chief Implementation Officer, Fab Foundation.

Stacey Ludwig Johnson, Ph.D., VP Operations, Teachers College, Western Governors University Susan Sheridan, Technology Engineering Teacher, Gardner High School
Susan McPherson, Founder and CEO, McPherson Strategies
Tad Brinkerhoff, Director, eMINTS National Center – University of Missouri
Teresa Barnett, Executive Director, Community Resources for Science
Teresa Kennedy, PhD, Professor International STEM and Bilingual/ELL Education, The University of Texas at Tyler
Thomas T Peters, Executive Director, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science
Tiffany Taber, Senior Adviser to the President & CEO, The Education Trust
Tom O’Connell, Chief Partnerships Officer, Mouse
Tonya M. Matthews, Assoc Provost Inclusive Workforce and Dir STEM Innovation Learning Center, Wayne State University
Tracey Campbell, Regional Coordinator, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics & Science
Trena L. Wilkerson, President, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Tzipor Ulman, PhD, CEO, Science is Elementary
Umbreen Bhatti

Vang Thao, Teacher on Special Assignment, Fresno Unified School District
Victoria Dunch, Research Coordinator, San Diego Zoo Global
Viva Asmelash, Associate Director, People Operations, Galileo Learning
Wendy Abshire, Education Program Director, American Meteorological Society
Wendy Kopp, CEO & Co-founder, Teach For All
Windsor Pesterfied Ed.D.
Youth Code Jam
Zachary R. Wood
Zee Ann Poerio

* Individual names for the purpose of identification only. Organizational names represent the organization’s sign-on. List complete as of May 6, 2020.

* During this crisis, supporting teachers has only felt more essential. We want all teachers to feel this outpouring of gratitude. This open love letter to teachers gives parents, community members, and educators a collective opportunity to express our admiration powerfully and in one voice. I hope you will join your name and share your appreciation with the teachers in your lives directly