Educators Selected for “Champions Educate Here” Legacy Program By College Football Playoff Foundaton, Los Angeles Host Committee & LA84 Foundation

With the 2023 College Football Playoff (CFP) National Championship less than a month away at SoFi Stadium, the College Football Playoff Foundation, the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee, the LA84 Foundation and the Play Equity Fund are excited to announce 20 additional educators have been selected as part of the “Champions Educate Here” legacy program.


The program was established to shine the spotlight of the College Football Playoff National Championship on the impactful work of 46 local educators and provide funding and support for their programs aimed at nurturing the academic, mental health, and social-emotional needs of students through sport, play, and movement.


The “Champions Educate Here” legacy program initially identified 26 educators in September 2022 and is set to honor the final 20 educators selected today, in the concluding round of the program. The selected educators include physical education teachers, elementary and special education teachers, coaches, and after-school staff throughout the Los Angeles region. Each selected educator will receive up to $20,000 to expand their efforts at their respective schools.


List of Educators

Noe Almendariz—South El Monte High School, El Monte Unified School District

Kathleen Clark—Girls Academic Leadership Academy (GALA), LAUSD

Jacob Correa—Whittier High School, Whittier Union High School District

Nelly Cristales—32nd Street Elementary School, LAUSD

Percival Dela Cruz—Alliance Renee and Meyer Luskin Academy High School, LAUSD

Lisa Finegan—Inner City Education Foundation (ICEF) Public Schools, LAUSD

Kevin Glaspy—Covina Valley Unified School District

Janelle Guzman—Puente Charter Elementary School, LAUSD

Jose Hidalgo—South Gate High School, LAUSD

Vincent Kezman—Birmingham Community Charter High School, LAUSD

Mike Martinez—Katherine Edwards Middle School, Whittier City School District

Celeste Modster—University Pathways Public Service Academy, LAUSD

Darryl McClain—Susan Miller Dorsey High School, LAUSD

Jose Rivas—Lennox Math, Science and Technology Academy, Lennox School District        

Alexandria Sanchez—William Workman High School, Hacienda La Puente Unified School District                

Miles Tabarez—Theodore Roosevelt Senior High School, LAUSD

Can Tran—Arroyo High School, El Monte Unified School District

Malissa Vanegas—Will Rogers High School, LAUSD

Tamryn Wilkins—54th Street Elementary School, LAUSD

Jaron Williams—Citizens of the World Charter Schools Los Angeles, LAUSD


“We have seen from our first announcement of educators that sport, play and movement are having a significant impact on positive outcomes for students in classrooms across Los Angeles County. Today, we join with our partners to honor 20 more local educators who are creating learning opportunities for their students through healthy movement,” said Renata Simril, President & CEO of the LA84 Foundation and President of the Play Equity Fund. “The additional support provided to these educators through Champions Educate Here as a legacy of the 2023 College Football Playoff National Championship is transformational for each educator, their schools and community. We believe sport, play and movement in schools gives youth a greater chance to succeed. And, when our kids thrive, we all thrive.”


The reach and impact of the “Champions Educate Here” program is significant, with the 46 educators recognized from 12 school districts across Los Angeles, as well as parochial schools. The Champion Educators serve students from TK/Kindergarten, Elementary, Middle School and High School.


“The Champions Educate Here legacy program has been a tremendous opportunity to shine the spotlight on 46 local educators and provide them valuable resources to further address the social-emotional needs of their students through sport, play, and movement,” said James Rishwain, Chairman of the Los Angeles College Football Playoff National Championship Host Committee. “The stories that have emerged continue to inspire our work surrounding the College Football Playoff National Championship and we are proud to celebrate these educators for the many ways in which they champion the growth of LA’s 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 to 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 also sign up for the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit, taking place on Saturday, January 7 at the LA Convention Center. Registration for the in-person event and the online options is now open at


“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.”


All 46 educators in the “Champions Educate Here” legacy program will be acknowledged at the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, slated to kick off the college football postseason at SoFi Stadium on Saturday, December 17, 2022.  To learn more about all 46 educators and the great work they are doing in our community, please visit


Full Press Release


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