Roadrunner Rundown – Lee Live!

February 23, 2019

Roadrunner Families,
I want to start by updating you on the incident from earlier this week. Through the assistance of community members, AISD Police were able to locate the man who was on campus without permission and acting erratically. He has been issued a Criminal Trespass Warning, which means that he will be arrested if he returns to campus. I want to thank APD, AISD PD and everyone who contacted us in an effort to prioritize the safety of our students and staff.

Last Sunday, two of our 6th grade leaders were recognized by IASD as part of the annual African American Heritage Celebration. Congratulations to Analise Bady and Felix Kahlor, this year’s recipients of the Outstanding Student Award for our school. On Wednesday evening, we will be hosting a panel discussion on race and representation at 7:00 pm in the library. The panel is presented by Lee Equity in Action Program (LEAP) Child care will be offered ~ Please sign up here: On Thursday, our recognition of Black History Month will culminate in a school-wide assembly where we will host multicultural world percussionist T. Negresco Lyles and celebrate the joyous birthday of Ms. Bettie Meshack Mann, the first Teacher of Color at Lee Elementary School and the namesake of our kindergarten wing.

As of today, we are one week away from one of the most important event of the year! Next Saturday will gather at Springdale Station to spend time together, hear some amazing live music and raise important funds for our school. There are still tickets available here – In the lead up to this event we have been sharing stories outlining the importance of Lee Live to our school and our students. Here is the final installment of Clayton Maxwell’s Lee Live interview mini-series.

From musician Kelly Willis, a former parent at Lee who played Lee Live for ten years along with her husband, Bruce Robison:

Bruce and I played Lee Live starting with the first one! We played every year until all our kids graduated from Lee. About 10 years. 

I love the event because it was always so fun to spend time with other parents and the teachers outside of the school setting. I love the part where the teachers sell the grade level art at the live auction. It feels like so much love is in the air. Our community feels closer after the event and we raise so much money for important causes! It’s just a big win all around. 

I liked how you can come be a wallflower or be on the dance floor all night. No pressure, no bidding required–just happy to be together celebrating our school. 

I was just so grateful to these teachers who were helping raise my kids. We didn’t always know how we could support them and this felt like the best way we could do that. 

From Ms. Stanfield, Lee Kindergarten Teacher, on what she loves about Lee Live:

I love being able to socialize with parents for more that 2 minutes.  We can actually have an adult conversation.  I also love to dance!  A funny aside  – People always call me Ms. Stanfield.  It doesn’t matter how long I’ve know them or what the situation is.  I am eternally Ms. Stanfield. 

The year of the second Lee Live was a very difficult year for me personally.  It was one of my first public outings as a single person and I was very uncomfortable.  When I got to the venue I was totally embraced by so many people.  I was a bit star struck by Bruce and Kelly at the time and I was thrilled when they came to sit with me.

From Susannah Hollinger, Head of Student Art Projects

I first started working on the Lee Live student art projects at a Kindergarten parent six years ago. It was fun to tap into the creative community at our school; we have so many creative parents at Lee–artists, writers, musicians– and doing the art projects helped me meet a lot of parents I otherwise wouldn’t know. I also love how this has allowed me to develop relationships with the kids over the years. When they see me, sometimes they ask, “Are you going to do the art project with us this year? I would never have expected it to be quite so fun. When you go in to work with the students, it definitely gives you a lot of appreciation for the teachers. Some of those kids are so high energy. It’s a nice way to contribute to Lee in a way that feels creative and right for me.

This is my second year to oversee all of the grade level projects—it’s great because so many of the parents are so talented and creative. Andy Sharp, for example—he’s awesome. He’s the one who did the art house mural—and he’s also in an AC/DC cover band. This year he bought a steel face guitar that he’s having the kids paint with special markers from Japan. Leigh Ann McGeehee and Matt Roberts work as a team and always do something great—they make it really fun for the kids. And this year we have the new Kinder dad Jack Sanders doing something cool with his print-making. We all work our hineys off, but its satisfying because it combines two things we love—art and the kids at Lee.

From Ms. Manning, Kindergarten Teacher:

I love getting to mingle and chat with parents outside of a school setting.  The live auction is always a favorite.  And of course I want Kindergarten to bring in the most money. The money we raise goes to support a full time AP, reading and math specialist which are super important.

From Kelsey Evans, a parent who began at Lee in 2008, the year of the First Lee Live:

We began Lee Live because we’d heard that the teachers were really struggling to cover costs of basic supplies and classroom needs. I believe the original Lee Live was intended to raise a few thousand dollars to buy new maps, of all things, or maybe globes, for the classrooms.  In 2008, Lee was lucky to have as new Kinder parents, Kelly Willis and Bruce Robison, and they offered to play a small little show if it would help be a platform for families to gather and donate money.  The first Lee Live was at Antone’s in spring 2008, I believe, and it raised about $3,000 – enough to buy the new globes!  More than anything though, I understand that it was a great unifier among the parents- that they could band together to pull something like that off!  

As small as Lee is, we have always been mighty.  An earnest group of hard-working (and tired!) parents become hard-working volunteers, all in the spirit of togetherness and possibility.  Our school community is blessed with a lot of talent, brainpower and heart, and Lee Live is the occasion that harnesses all that for the benefit of EVERY Lee student.  As the Lee Live auctioneer famously coined, “It’s for the Kids!”  

I can never forget the adrenaline of the live auction, perched on the corner and watching parents’ eyes light up when they just ‘won’ their kiddos treasured art project…. Mostly, I remember the good in people- the effort, the creativity, the early mornings and late nights getting ready, and the enormous impact of collective generosity.

See you next Saturday at Lee Live!

John Hewlett
Principal – Russell Lee Elementary School