National Teacher Of Year To Keynote Urban League Equal Opportunity Day

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Urban League of Greater Chattanooga presents its annual Equal Opportunity Day breakfast on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 a.m. at the Chattanooga Convention Center with keynote speaker Jahana Hayes, the 2016 National Teacher of the Year named by the Council of Chief State School Officers. Ms. Hayes is the first member of her family to graduate college and now serves as a history teacher at John F. Kennedy High School in Waterbury, Ct. 

Despite a challenging upbringing, Ms. Hayes was inspired and encouraged by her teachers to dream big and attend college. A lifelong student, she earned an associate degree from Naugatuck Valley Community College, a Bachelor of Science from Southern Connecticut State University, a Master of Arts from Saint Joseph University and a certification from the University of Bridgeport. Ms. Hayes has been teaching for the past 12 years and says she feels privileged to have the opportunity to transform lives and foster a sense of social responsibility in the next generation. As the 2016 National Teacher of the Year and a frequent spokesperson for education, Ms. Hayes says she hopes to motivate more people to become educators and play a part in shaping the citizens of tomorrow. 

"As a teacher, I strive to facilitate learning in a way that engages students by connecting on a personal level and stimulating academic growth, while simultaneously producing contentious and productive members of society," said Ms. Hayes. 

Each year, the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga-as part of the National Urban League movement-celebrates Equal Opportunity Day as a community-wide celebration of inclusion. This year's event theme is "Equity in Education," focusing on the role that educators and the community play in progressing education for all students. To recognize corporate and individual leadership in the region, the Urban League will give out three awards at the event: Inclusion by Design Award, Community Impact Award and the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award. 

"The Urban League desires to raise awareness of the importance of teacher leadership and community engagement in addressing educational inequities for low-income and minority youth who face significant barriers to academic and career success," said Warren E. Logan, Jr., president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. "We believe Jahana Hayes' exceptional record as an educator and her passion for engaging youth in their communities will resonate with educators and leaders across the community who attend this year's EOD event." 

The Urban League's education programs include an afterschool program, STEM Academy, summer coding camp, National Achievers Society and the Infinite Scholars Scholarship Fair. The Urban League fosters economic empowerment through the Entrepreneurship Center, NextLevel Chattanooga, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, Employment Center and homeownership counseling. In addition, the Urban League offers health and wellness initiatives focused on improving health outcomes for underserved populations. 

The Urban League is offering several sponsorship levels or individual tickets for the event. All proceeds from the event will support the Urban League's empowerment programs. For more information, visit or call Lily Sanchez at 756-1762 or

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