YES Prep Public Schools

Leading Houston Forward Celebration

YES Prep CEO Mark DiBella, Luncheon Chairs Emily and Jordan Marye, and the Benito family 

YES Prep Public Schools’ Expansion into
Elementary Front and Center at 
Third Annual Leading Houston Forward Luncheon

Dr. John B. King Jr., 10thU.S. Secretary of Education and President & CEO of The Education Trust, served as keynote speaker at the Luncheon which raised nearly $1,000,000 to support YES Prep’s 19 campuses and opening of its first two elementary schools 

HOUSTON – “Almost 97% of our students are in A or B rated schools and are outperforming full Pre-K-12 programs, just imagine what we will do when we open elementary schools,” remarked CEO Mark DiBella about the charter school’s plan to open 10 feeder elementary schools over the next five years at YES Prep Public Schools’ Third Annual Leading Houston Forward Luncheon, that took place on Wednesday, October 16, 2019 at the Wortham Theater Center.  

The event raised close to $1,000,000, including $223,000 in additional day of donations, thanks to an anonymous donor’s incentive dollar for dollar match of up to $100,000.  Chaired by Emily and Jordan Marye, the luncheon hosted almost 400 guests to support the 14,100 students in grades 6-12 at YES Prep’s current 19 campuses across Houston as well its first two elementary schools slated to open in August 2020. Regarding their support and commitment as a YES Prep board member and chair of the event, Jordan shared, “Emily and I support YES Prep because it is the only major charter district solely focused on Houston and that consistently delivers unmatched student achievement results. YES Prep is truly leading Houston forward and we are proud to be a part of this mission.” 

Guests at the luncheon enjoyed a captivating keynote address from Dr. John B. King Jr., a passionate social justice and civil rights advocate and inspiring educator. Tapped by President Obama in 2016 to lead the U.S. Department of Education and commended for his commitment to “preparing every child for success,” King currently serves as the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit that works to close opportunity gaps that disproportionately affect students of color and students from low-income families. 

Named after the YES Prep founder and visionary, the Chris Barbic Legacy Award was presented to longtime corporate supporter Vitol, for their tireless commitment to YES Prep’s mission. Veteran educator Mark DiBella shared, “Vitol has been a humble partner and champion of YES Prep for over a decade, supporting the fundamental belief that we hold at YES Prep - that all children deserve equitable access to educational excellence.” Vitol is a private company founded in Rotterdam in 1966 and has 40 offices worldwide and serves major energy and industrial customers across the globe. 

The evening prior to the luncheon, top donors were invited to a private dinner hosted by Susan and Fayez Sarofim. Dr. King and YES Prep board member Luis Elizondo-Thomson engaged attendees with a fireside style chat as they discussed current educational inequities and the increasing demand for an educated workforce in the U.S. to ensure the continued vitality for generations to come.   

To learn why YES Prep will be opening elementary schools in 2020, click here

Thank you to our 2019 Leading Houston Forward Celebration Sponsors.


If you are interested in supporting the Leading Houston Forward Celebration, please click here.