Hi, I’m Huston!
I am the proud founder and school leader of the Lenora Butler Rolla School of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation located in the Historic Southside community of Fort Worth! A quick summary of my background. I am a product of Alief ISD in Alief, Texas. Alief is an urban suburb of Houston. Growing up in Alief I witnessed huge demographic changes in every part of my grade schooling. As a kindergartener I saw how white Aliefians took flight to suburbs outside of Houston’s city center. I was a part of Alief transitioning to a predominantly African American neighborhood. By the time I was a sophomore in high school a great influx of Hispanic, Asian immigrants and East African refugees made Alief home. Although Alief foundationally was an African American community, it was awesome seeing the mix of cultures as they interacted with one another socioeconomically. Think of my hometown as an eclectic version of hip-hop. This is what raised me.
As an educator and nonprofit practitioner, I am driven by restoration and innovation. I have served underserved black and brown communities for my entire 14-year career. At every stop, I have witnessed scholars thrive in environments that are not rote and procedural, but creative and conceptual. Our scholars love learning through tasks that produce tangible results. As a project-based learning expert, I have seen how learning experiences matter. Pythagorean Theorem is a hard concept to grasp when working through a textbook. It’s hard to even understand the purpose of having to know it. That all changes when scholars use it to create model houses. It becomes game changing when you partner with Habitat for Humanity and see how those models become homes for members of your neighborhood in need of housing.
I look at education totally differently than most of my peers. My goal is to disrupt the mechanism of schools and how we view our scholars. I view schools as a conduit to providing at-risk communities resources and funding to not only sustain and right racially motivated socioeconomic wrongs. But to thrive and create the innovative cities of the future. I see our scholars not as the product of our education, but equal stakeholders in this effort. Our scholars are innovators, project designers, and managers who should get world class development that will give them the knowledge and skills necessary to support and transform their communities in real time. I know that the vision is bold and audacious. But it is very possible. It just takes building authentic relationships. Sharing a common vision. Understanding that the community is our product and working one project at a time.
Project-based learning (PBL) is an educational approach in which students learn by actively engaging in real-world, complex tasks and challenges. This approach emphasizes critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration, and it is often used in schools as an alternative to traditional, lecture-based instruction. In our school, students work on projects that are based on their interests and passions, and that are designed to be interdisciplinary and relevant to the real world. These projects often require students to conduct research, gather and analyze information, and present their findings in a variety of formats. PBL can help students develop the 21st century skills that are critical for success in the modern world.