WIN Circle: Education
Meet the Co-Chairs of the Education Circle!
Cindy Steiner and Marcia Morgan have teamed up to head the Education Circle for 2022’s Area of Giving. Like all Circle leaders, Marcia and Cindy face the daunting task of getting their arms around a broad category. Though they had never met before our interview, both are passionate about education and are happy to work together and share the leadership role.
Cindy describes herself as a “school nerd” whose family valued education, and is now an English teacher at Ashley High after spending her career as an accountant and MBA in Northern Virginia. Her goal is to help kids who don’t see the value in school become successful. Without support at home, Cindy says, their chances of success are diminished. “Many families are just trying to survive,” she says. Inequality is front and center of her thinking. “A rising tide raises all boats,” she says of the need for equality of access to education.
Marcia also grew up in a family where her mother made sure that everyone got an education, especially the girls. She was in the 6th grade before she realized you’re not supposed to like school, and she never stopped liking it. She went on to get a PhD and become a Colonel in the US Army. She ran for state representative for NC District 19 in 2020, a challenging task during the pandemic. Improving educational standards was at the forefront of her campaign. "Elevating schools and teachers is the key,” says Marcia. "They need support at the state level, not privatization, which pulls funds away from the most needy. There is substantial reason to believe that the New Hanover County Schools have resegregated over time."
Marcia and Cindy both believe that education provides a necessary basis for understanding social justice, environmental resources and safety, and the role of government, among other critical issues. They advocate that children get an adequate education starting at an early age if they are to thrive as adults. “Students who aren’t reading on grade level by the end of third grade have a much higher likelihood of dropping out of school and some of them find themselves in jail,” says Cindy. The Education Circle can help more WIN members understand that simple fact, along with what the school-to-prison pipeline looks like in New Hanover County.
The Education Circle also includes Amy Horgan, Janet Stiegler, Kay Dougherty, Pam Bradley, Linda Thomas, and Wanda Rushing, each of whom shares that passion for education. One of the benefits of the Circles is giving a dedicated group of WIN members the opportunity to understand their Area of Giving and how it works. Marcia and Cindy have begun to focus on how WIN can make the most impact, not only through the agencies it chooses but also through the services that seem to hold the most promise for long term effect. Each has begun to think about the long term impact of early childhood on the success of children and their ability to grow into adults who serve society. The Circle will start by understanding the breadth and depth of providers that focus on education, as the Circle defines it, and continue from there to do their research and listening.
Both of them find that being a WIN member rewards them for being part of a collective giving group. They appreciate that women working together for a common goal have a chance to make a difference, and that the effort is worthwhile. Marcia's perspective from the military and Cindy's from the business world give both of them a unique and valuable view on the purpose of education. “Change is not only necessary, but possible,” they agree. WIN is fortunate to have their collective wisdom on board for 2022.