I couldn’t be where I am today without my teachers. From my days in elementary school to my time at Georgetown University, my teachers played a key role not only in helping me develop the skills I needed to succeed in my field but also in shaping my morals and values.

As a proud father of two children, I realize every day just how vital it is to educate and guide our future generations. As Nelson Mandela said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It is the key to personal, societal, and political transformation.

This is why, after leaving Morgan Stanley’s Real Estate Investing (MSREI) business in 2009, I decided to do more than just be an investor. I founded GreenOak Real Estate to drive my professional interests.  It is also a great vehicle for me to support my personal/philanthropic ones as well.    This is what led me to look for places where I could get involved—and ultimately I decided to join the board at Teaching Matters.

Teaching Matters strengthens our most important educational resource

Studies on educational inequality in the United States paint an alarming picture. Students in poor urban and rural areas lag two, three, or even four years behind their peers in wealthier communities. Clearly, the playing field isn’t level—and something should be done.

When looking for places to help, I was introduced toTeaching Matters, an educational nonprofit dedicated to developing, retaining, and advocating for excellent teachers. I was immediately captured by the organization’s simple yet powerful motto: “Great teachers. Bright futures.

I came across a study published in Scientific American about how effective instruction and guidance helps students learn in an optimal manner. This got my attention; perhaps the best way to help our youth succeed is to give great teachers the support and resources they need. After all, it’s estimated that one teacher influences 3,000 children over their career.  

To vastly improve teaching and the lives of countless children, Teaching Matters is training teachers to become the academic mentors our children deserve. This way, the professional culture of teaching can be transformed from the inside out and more effective educational practices can eventually be instituted.

Overall, my goal as a board member is simple: Provide as much support as I can to the teachers who will prepare our the next generation of pioneers, leaders, and innovators.   

Teaching Matters is built on the right philosophy

The core values of Teaching Matters are ambitious, respectable, and absolutely achievable:

  • Partnership
  • Accountability
  • Pragmatism
  • Perseverance
  • Respect
  • Innovation

These are values I try to instill in my own companies. I’ve seen how powerful they can be when put into action. Indeed, the vision of founder Elizabeth Rohatyn is being fulfilled in inspiring ways.

Teaching Matters has big goals (and is achieving them)

Teaching Matters wants to revolutionize education throughout America by equipping teachers for success in the classroom. By developing and retaining great teachers, students in disadvantaged areas can receive a better education—which equals a better chance at future success.

This initiative is not being done on a small scale. Teaching Matters has had a considerable impact over the last 20 years:

  • Supported over 1,000 schools
  • Trained over 3,000 teachers
  • Developed more than 400 leader teachers
  • Influenced over 500,000 students

And over the next four years, Teaching Matters will support:

  • More than 6,325 teacher leaders and team members
  • More than 73,600 learners

So far, Teaching Matters has been shown to improve teacher effectiveness and retention as well as student achievement and confidence in the classroom. 92% of Teaching Matters teachers plan to stay in the profession beyond five years (compared to 50% nationally). And students at Teaching Matters schools are outperforming similar schools in Math and English achievement.

As a member of the Board of Directors, I’m privileged to be able to support the great things being achieved at Teaching Matters. With a continued commitment to our teachers, goals, and values, we can do even more. We can give all students the great education they deserve.