As the countdown continues for the 2023 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship, the College Football Playoff Foundation, the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee, and the LA84 Foundation today announced plans to highlight educators and provide support for teachers in school districts across the Los Angeles region leading up to the national championship game on January 9 at SoFi Stadium.
The “Champions Educate Here” legacy programs will identify and celebrate up to 46 educators—including physical education teachers, elementary and special education teachers, coaches, and after-school staff—who nurture the academic, mental health, and social-emotional needs of students through sport, play, and movement. Each selected educator will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 to expand their efforts at their respective schools. Awards may deliver play equipment, social-emotional learning resources, uniforms, field trips, coaching education, wellness spaces, and/or infrastructure projects.
The initial recipients listed below will be publicly acknowledged Saturday, September 17, as part of an in-game recognition during USC’s football game against Fresno State at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The educators will also receive a professionally produced video to create more exposure for their programs and share techniques to inspire fellow educators. Videos will be released sequentially throughout the season, beginning in late September.
List of Educators
Martha Alba-Gonzalez—Chavez Elementary, Long Beach USD
Reginald Bellamy—Inglewood High School, Inglewood USD
Vincent Brascia—Orthopedic Medical Magnet High School, LAUSD
California Ultimate Association (Leo Decter, Toph Eggers, Naomi Guzman, Katie Killebrew)—IUSD
Pablo Carlos—Sun Valley Magnet School, LAUSD
Jonathan Castaneda—St. Joseph School, La Puente
Alfredo Crossman-Chavez—KIPP Corazón Academy Upper School, LAUSD
Lauren Fletcher—City Honors International Preparatory School, IUSD
Yolanda Galeazzi—Rise Kohyang High School, LAUSD
Daysi Garcia—PUC Excel Charter Academy, LAUSD
Henree Haitkin—Luther Burbank Middle School, LAUSD
Walter Lopez—John C. Fremont High School, LAUSD
Patrick Merrill—4th Street Primary Center, LAUSD
Jason Morgan—Dominguez High School, Compton USD
Jason Orona—KIPP Promesa Prep, LAUSD
Kevin Pearson—Warren High School, Downey USD
Joshua Perea—El Rancho High School & The STEAM Academy at Burke, El Rancho USD
Monica Rubacalva—St. Anthony of Padua School, Gardena
Felipe Valencia—Felicitas & Gonzalo Mendez High School, LAUSD
Nicholas Westfall—Alexander Hamilton High School, LAUSD
Alyssa Worbetz—Girls Athletic Leadership School Los Angeles, LAUSD
Colin Yamashita—Rise Kohyang Middle School, LAUSD
“As the legacy of the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship in Los Angeles, Champions Educate Here will not only provide support but also shine a bright spotlight on local educators using sport, play and movement to accelerate their students’ recovery from the pandemic and improve outcomes in the classroom,” said Renata Simril, President & CEO of the LA84 Foundation and President of the Play Equity Fund. “With our partners, we look forward to supporting more educators and helping create opportunities throughout the season that have a lasting impact on youth across Los Angeles County.”
Nominations remain open for the final educators who will be unveiled later this year. Educators (including coaches) must serve high-needs schools in Los Angeles County—including public schools, parochial schools, and after-school service providers affiliated with county school districts. To learn more about application requirements and to nominate an educator, please visit LosAngeles2023.com.
“The College Football Playoff National Championship is both a high-profile event and a celebration of excellence by college athletes on the field. It represents the culmination of dedicated teamwork sustained over an entire season to arrive at a history-making moment,” said James Rishwain, Chairman, of the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee. “More important, this epic sporting event is a reflection of the profound commitment our local educators show to our youth every day. Along with this national championship game, we are delighted to honor deeply deserving local educators for their work with our youth.”
In addition to recognizing the 46 educators, the College Football Playoff Foundation will work directly with Los Angeles, Pasadena, and Inglewood Unified School Districts to provide additional grants and implement its Extra Yard for Teachers initiatives—which retain outstanding teachers and recruit future educators. Activities include over 10 Extra Yard Makeover Projects to upgrade media centers in those school districts, a series of A+ Teacher appreciation lunches, DonorsChoose funding for classroom projects, and unique teacher recognitions based upon student and parent nominations. Teachers can expect to see the Los Angeles community, as well as many across the country, extending their gratitude by participating in the Big Day for Teachers on September 20, 2022.
“We are grateful for the collaboration with the host committee and thrilled with all of our partnerships in Southern California,” said Britton Banowsky, Executive Director of the College Football Playoff Foundation. “The work supporting educators extends throughout Los Angeles County and will make a difference in the lives of thousands of current and future teachers. The impact from these investments will most certainly leave a lasting legacy.”
Together with many national and local education partners, the CFP Foundation will offer professional development platforms for educators to learn from each other and bring best practices into their classrooms, while also creating opportunities for more diversity within educational leadership roles. The CFP Foundation’s annual Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, scheduled for Saturday, January 7, 2023, will feature sessions for current educators as well as educators of tomorrow. Details will be available at CFP-Foundation.org.
The collective efforts from the College Football Playoff Foundation, the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee, and the LA84 Foundation will positively impact thousands of children across the Los Angeles region with expanded access to play and enhanced resources to learn. To read more about “Champions Educate Here” and for all updates related to Los Angeles hosting the College Football Playoff National Championship, please visit LosAngeles2023.com.