Kolbe School dean to chair board of directors at AVANCE-Houston
Partnership capitalizes on synergies for educational advancement to break cycle of poverty
As reported in the Houston Business Journal, the University of St. Thomas’ founding dean of the Kolbe School of Innovation and Professional Studies, Dr. Nicole McZeal Walters, has been elected to chair the board of directors for the nonprofit organization AVANCE-Houston. She brings a wealth of educational insight and guidance and sees synergy with her work at UST.
Dr. Walters said, “I had the opportunity to join the board three years ago, and last year served as the vice-chair. On July 1 of the current year, I assumed the role of chair of the board and am thrilled. AVANCE has been pivotal in my continued interest, advocacy and support of early childhood education and total family economic and educational advancement.”
History and Aim of AVANCE
Since 1973, AVANCE has worked to empower low-income families to break the cycle of poverty. To do that, the organization serves the needs of children and their parents. They place a critical focus on early childhood education and reinforce the belief that parents are the first teachers. AVANCE’s Parent-Child Education Program (PCEP) is a national model of early intervention.
The organization’s programs prepare students for college and adults for the workforce. Walters recognized a synergy with UST.
A Synergy with UST’s Kolbe School
“I see a synergy between AVANCE and all of the two-year programs in The Kolbe School program,” Walters pointed out. “So, AVANCE and The Kolbe School have created a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to create a pathway for AVANCE parents and staff to seek educational opportunities at UST.
“We actually have a graduate of the AVANCE PCEP who was awarded a scholarship from AVANCE and just completed her first semester in The Kolbe School’s General Business Program. She and her husband own an air conditioning business where she is the bookkeeper. She is thrilled to be at St. Thomas where her perseverance and commitment to improving her family’s social and economic opportunities will pay off.”
Innovation and Partnership for Empowering the Population
The Kolbe School actively seeks opportunities to promote innovation while supporting the school’s mission of creating high-quality academic programs designed to serve the needs of a diverse population.
UST’s partnership with AVANCE leverages the natural synergy of early learning, parent empowerment, and higher education to unlock opportunities for families to achieve success and upward mobility.
“I am grateful to share my passionate involvement with both UST and this incredible nonprofit, AVANCE, that is changing the lives of families forever as it relates to educational advancement,” Walters concluded.