(Houston, TX – November 13, 2017) – YES Prep Public Schools (YES Prep), Houston’s leaders and philanthropic community including Honorary Chairs and long-time YES Prep supporters Laura and John Arnold, along with Event Chairs and Board of Trustee members Lori and Chip Johnson, will honor Founder Chris Barbic on Friday, November 17, at their 20-Years Strong Celebratory Legacy Luncheon at The Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. In response to Houston’s need for more college graduates, YES Prep was founded with the vision that every child in Houston receives equitable access to a public school that delivers an excellent, college-ready education.
Over 400 guests are expected to attend the event. The Arnolds will also host a private Founder’s Dinner in their home the evening prior to the event, featuring distinguished development economist, Lant Pritchett, as guest speaker. Lant Pritchett is currently a professor of the Practice of International Development and Faculty Chair of the Masters in Public Policy in International Development program at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Public Policy. He is one of the world’s preeminent thought leaders in economic development.
When asked why they became such avid supporters of YES Prep, Chip Johnson stated, “Lori and I are amazed as we reflect on the impact YES Prep has made in its first 20 years – and on what YES Prep will accomplish in the next 20. From a collection of well-worn trailers in a parking lot to a thriving school system, YES Prep has grown to serve 12,600 students at 17 campuses. The future vitality and prosperity of Houston depends on our community rallying behind the YES Prep mission: to increase the number of students from underserved communities who graduate from college prepared to lead.”
Veteran educator and YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella witnessed the vision from the early years as faculty and administrator. DiBella said, “Chris Barbic has impacted thousands of children through his commitment to providing all students opportunities inside and outside the classroom. His passion and dedication to his students and families led him to create Project YES in 1995 at Rusk Elementary and following its success, YES Prep Public Schools was officially founded three years later. Under his leadership, YES Prep grew into an award-winning charter school system for underserved communities throughout Houston.” DiBella was named a finalist in the Houston Business Journal’s C-Suite Awards.
Chris Barbic led YES Prep for 13 years before transitioning to serve as the founding superintendent of the Achievement School District in Tennessee. Currently, Chris serves as the Senior Education Fellow at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, working to advance the portfolio model of school governance across the country to increase student achievement.