Milt Peterson, through the Peterson Family Foundation, donated $1 million to the Teach for America Program, designating the funds be used for Prince George's County schools. "When you're making a decision, you ask, 'What are we investing in?'" Peterson, leading developer of the National Harbor said. "You say, 'How much good is this investment going to do for those who need it?' and Teach for America is very high on that because the return is evident. It's evident right here. The importance of education is knowledge."
The gift, being paid over four years, was announced during a March 10 news conference at William W. Hall Academy in Capitol Heights. A kindergarten class, a group of seventh graders, school staff, and various community leaders were on hand at the school's media center. Principal MenSa Ankh Maa, who began his teaching career with Teach for America, thanked Peterson for the award. "Being a part of Teach for America is more than a two year commitment in the classroom," Maa said while standing at the podium. "It is a lifestyle, a movement, a definite decision to commit to the improvement of the educational system as the greatest lever of social change."
The Teach For America D.C. Region/Prince George's County collaboration started in 2007, with approximately 300 teachers being hired through the program."We can't be all that we should be and all that we can be unless we're doing right in our public school systems across this country," Prince George's County Public School CEO Kevin Maxwell said. "Great partnerships through organizations, businesses and foundations are the key to our success as well. We absolutely know that we can't do this work and be as successful as we should without these kinds of partnerships."
Peterson's investment will contribute to paying for ongoing teacher support and professional development, including mentorship and coaching from veteran education experts. "What Teach For America has done for us today is to give us generations of education in Prince George's County," County Executive Rushern L. Baker said. "Prince George's County is never going to be what it should be unless our educational system is, not just the best in the state, but also the best in the nation, and the world. With the help of the Peterson family and Teach For America, we're going to get that done."