By: Courtney Riley, M.A.
The Houston Area Alliance of Black School Educators (HAABSE) has made strides in the realm of education that has impacted Black communities and students across Houston, Texas, and the nation. HAABSE currently boasts a membership of over 200 Black educators committed to excellence in and out of the classroom.
HAABSE was founded in the spring of 1986 as an affiliate of the Texas and National organization. HAABSE strives to serve the Black community through its extensive network of educators and stakeholders. Julia Andrews, current President of HAABSE, mentioned that HAABSE is a “find your fit organization, we have something for everyone. You can be as involved as you like without pressure. We are an organization committed to helping like-minded professionals, not just educators but everyone who is invested in our youth. HAABSE’s network creates an environment focused on improving education arenas for Black educators and students.” Andrews currently works for the Harris County Department of Education as the Director of the Center for Safe and Secure Schools. Andrews joined HAABSE after becoming a HAABSE Teacher of the Year for her campus. After winning 2nd runner up for the organization, Andrews made a commitment to Dr. DuBose and the Late Dr. Bailey to give back to the organization and has not regretted a minute of it.
HAABSE has given many black educators a chance to create an outlet solely for black educators. TABSE President Elect, Dr. Chris Pichon stated, “Having a black organization to me means we have an outlet. An outlet to support each other, network, and have conversations about the challenges we face both personally and professionally without judgment.” Pichon serves as an Executive Director for School Administration and Principal Development. Pichon joined the alliance to grow and develop as an educator and an educational leader to transform the lives of students and their learning communities.
The organization’s goals include focusing on the students who are served by black educators. Current HAABSE Historian William Ealy, who serves as a K-8 Dean of Instruction, attributed that the organization has opened doors for many educators with job and mentoring opportunities and most importantly giving back to our students through scholarships and guidance. During Ealy’s first year as assistant principal, he relied heavily on support from past president Dr. Kwame Mensah, who responded to Ealy’s call for help when he felt like he was failing in connecting with teachers. Ealy was coached by Mensah and that relationship helped Ealy persist in his goal of being an effective educator.
HAABSE thrives on its goals of creating a meaningful and effective network of strength, talent, and professional support for students’ education. HAABSE provides support and information to students and families especially in preparation for college and beyond. Scholarships are awarded on behalf of HAABSE yearly by fundraising efforts of HAABSE members.
HAABSE members have learned several things to enhance the field of education. Principal Lisa Langston stated, “Through HAABSE, I have learned that there is power in unifying with others who believe in excellence and who know it resides in Black educators and students. Because of HAABSE, I have learned to expand my view as a principal to remove obstacles and create pathways to educational greatness. Langston is a vital part of HAABSE and leads the professional development committee within the organization. HAABSE has for years significantly improved the abilities of black educators and development of staff.
Chief of Schools and HAABSE member, Dr. Dawn DuBose has seen the organization grow and flourish and has committed to uplifting members of the organization. “This organization provides various opportunities to support education for all students, but more specifically for African-American children,” stated DuBose, “Plus, it allows for us to continue to receive exceptional professional development opportunities and to connect with other outstanding educators.”
Dr. Pichon commented, “HAABSE has produced master teachers, high integrity leaders, and amazing student scholars across the Houston area and beyond through professional development, leadership institutes, and scholarship programs, as well as annually recognizing outstanding teachers, student scholars, and living legends in Region IV for nearly 40 years.” HAABSE has an extensive history of motivating Black educators to connect and thrive with educators around the nation.
To join HAABSE, any educator can visit their website, www.haabse.org and pay membership fees for varying levels of membership in the Houston, Texas or National chapter. Once a membership fee has been received, new members will receive a welcome packet describing the many facets of the organization and how to get involved in the committees. Langston encourages educators to join HAABSE to be a part of something that makes a difference in their professional lives and future. Every educator has value and talents that can be used in HAABSE to accomplish a greater good.
HAABSE Historian Ealy emphasized that you should join HAABSE for the opportunity to grow and gain tools to positively impact the classroom and the lives of our black and brown scholars.