Aim High: Same Mission, New Leadership

After 30 years of success child by child. there's a changing of the guard — but not the  mission — of Aim High St. Louis.

Since 1991, Burroughs has hosted Aim High St. Louis, which provides four years of tuition-free summer enrichment and monthly touch points during the school year to promising middle schoolers from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. With many, many thanks to Julie Angelica, who led the organization for the past 13 years, we are thrilled to announce that Tammy Taylor and John Merritt recently assumed the responsibilities of executive director and operations (program) director of Aim High St. Louis. Both Tammy and John have numerous relationships within the Burroughs and St. Louis education communities. In addition to being director of our Community & Equity Partnership, Tammy is currently board chair for the St. Louis Public Schools Foundation, which serves the largest school district in the St. Louis metropolitan area. She brings a wealth of experience in strategic planning, governance and finance that will be critical to the future of the organization. John, a career educator, coach and member of the Burroughs faculty for more than 10 years, is returning to his role as operations director and will help foster Aim High’s relationships with public and private schools — their teachers and students — across the region.

Aim High St. Louis was launched in the summer of 1991 by then faculty members Ellen Moceri (History) and Rick Sandler (English), inviting 40 fifth graders to the pilot program. Now, about 400 fifth through eighth graders are part of the program, which offers a rigorous curriculum in math, science, English, history and research skills along with programs focused on character, self-esteem and leadership development. It was patterned after a program co-founded in San Francisco by Alec Lee ’76. (See page 7 for more about Alec, our 2021 Outstanding Alum Award recipient.)

I taught with Aim High during my first two summers at Burroughs and know what a deeply valuable program this has been for three decades — for the kids and their families and for the teachers and teaching assistants. — Andy Abbott, Head of School Burroughs provides Aim High St. Louis with the use of its facilities; feeder schools send their promising students. Teachers represent a cross-section of city and county public and private schools, including a number of Burroughs teachers throughout the years. Paid college-level teaching assistants and high school volunteers support the efforts of the teachers. An active board of directors (currently chaired by Geoff Ratliff ’95) is meaningfully involved, with an emphasis on fund raising and strategic planning. And many individuals provide the financial base that makes it possible to continue the program year after year.

The impact of Aim High St. Louis has been remarkable. To date, more than 7,500 students in St. Louis have been served, recording positive gains in core subjects, setting clear education goals for high school graduation and post-secondary enrollment, and demonstrating positive changes in attitude, behavior and knowledge.


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