I’m Alisa Andrews, founder of UpliftEd, Tulsa native, and graduate of Tulsa Public Schools. I was born to be a teacher, and taught for 10 years! I taught in Florida, then experienced a severe pay cut when I moved back to teach in Oklahoma. I noticed there had been a drastic decline of our Tulsa Public School system since the time I was a student. I saw alarming statistics of teacher loss. The lack of funding and stability meant the bottom was falling out of our schools.
At work, I noticed it was a norm for teachers to work extra jobs during the schoolyear and on school breaks. After learning that Tulsa teachers were filing bankruptcy in a steady stream, I had to act. I researched ways to get money to teachers without waiting for the state budget to be “fixed.” I found a way that seemed promising, and a few people to join me. We created UpliftEd to raise funds for teachers with financial hardship. These are the teachers most at risk of leaving the state. We want to give annual gift checks to these qualifying public school teachers, for personal use. The funds will be donated by individuals and businesses. We’re asking every adult in Tulsa to give two cents a day ($7.30/year), so we can give generous gift checks to each TPS teacher with financial hardship. (Tulsa Public Schools is our pilot district, and UpliftEd hopes to expand across the state.)
More than any amount of money we give, the boost in teacher morale will have a significant impact. We strive to increase community support AND retention of high-quality educators. A change of perceived value will go a long way in teacher satisfaction, performance, and retention. Everyone in Tulsa will benefit from a quality public school system. It shapes the upcoming generations, affects recruitment of new businesses, impacts real estate values, and should mirror the kind of educated society we are. Tulsa is celebrated for The Gathering Place, the BOK Center, Tulsa Young Professionals Group, entrepreneurial incubation, affordable living, and more. Shouldn’t we have a first class education system to boast? I hope you'll join in this mission to uplift education by supporting teachers - the most valuable classroom resource.