There is no easy way to say goodbye.
After nine years as Executive Director of TAME, it is time for me to step down. Over the next few months the TAME Board of Directors will be considering the future of TAME and STEM education in Texas as they launch a search for my replacement.
During this time, TAME will be held in the capable hands of Interim Executive Director Sally Blue, a long-time partner and strong supporter of the organization. Sally has worked with the TAME Board for four years and in the nonprofit sector for almost 25 years, and specializes in consulting with nonprofits in transition. I will be phasing out of everyday operations over the next couple of weeks, but Sally and TAME’s hard-working staff will keep programs running as smoothly as ever.
The work of TAME is very close to my heart, and I won’t be traveling far. In fact, you’ll probably see me volunteering at the State STEM Competitions over the next few years! Meanwhile, in my new position as Vice President of National Partnerships and Community Engagement with the Girl Scouts of the USA, I will be working to strengthen an ecosystem of opportunity that supports all of our young people.
I want to leave you with a heartfelt thank you and with a challenge. Thank you for being a part of TAME, and thank you for your personal support. Together, we have made a community that gives Texas students a sense of belonging, growth, and purpose. As this community grows, we can help even more students find their place in STEM. The challenge I leave you with is this: look for the students that get left behind and find ways to bring them into the TAME community. These students are the future. I can’t wait to see what they invent with your support.
“Thank you for opening those doors for me and believing in me the entire way, I have learned so much from you; I got a letter in the mail today, I received the $50,000 scholarship I interviewed for. When they asked about the most influential person in my life, of course I told them about my encounter with Ms. Savita.
“Thank you for hosting TAME for us, you change people’s lives and it is people who change the world.”
—Paloma, former TAME student, pictured with Savita in 2015 during a STEM Day event in Fort Stockton, Texas.
Dear Friends and Partners,
If you know Savita, you know she’s not one to toot her own horn. Now that she’s leaving, we have the chance to do some tooting. We are tremendously sad to see her go, but we are also tremendously grateful for the work she has done to make TAME a strong, stable, effective, and far-reaching organization.
Let’s review the numbers: during Savita’s tenure, the number of students reached grew almost 5 fold, and our operating budget also grew to match this. We went from a staff of 2 ½ (our first Trailblazer Facilitator was part-time) to a staff of more than 11, not including our fabulous interns. We restructured the Board to foster more engagement and more involvement from corporate sponsors.
We added a second Trailblazer museum to our fleet to meet the demand for STEM-on-wheels. We produced translations of TAME’s Science Squad™ comic books in Spanish, and began developing a third issue as envisioned by TAME students, with funding from NASA and the Wex Foundation. We inspired and helped more than 200 communities to start TAME Clubs. We standardized the Engineering Design Challenges and streamlined testing for the STEM Competitions. We developed the Hidden in Plain Sight: Discovering STEM Potential workshops to help educators and industry leaders find the creative talent hidden in plain sight in classrooms across Texas.
This year, as TAME students graduated high school and entered academic career tracks in STEM, we gave out 22 scholarships worth $45,000. During Savita’s nine years at TAME, she was instrumental in securing scholarships for 163 graduating seniors, awarding more than $351,000 to help make their dreams possible. And finally, during her tenure Savita helped secure TAME’s legacy by building relationships with more than 295 industry, higher education, and community partners, raising more than $6.6 million dollars to serve more than 250,000 students.
That’s a lot to toot about. The biggest success, though, is something you are all a part of—the network of relationships that Savita has helped to strengthen and to grow. Across Texas, TAME has worked to help build STEM communities that welcome all kinds of kids. We haven’t just quintupled (!) our reach, we’ve found ways to reach the kids that other programs miss.
As we move into the next era of TAME, please join us in thanking Savita for leaving us inspired, energized, and ready for any challenge.
The TAME Board of Directors