Thank you for Celebrating with Us!

Hollywood Glam was celebrated on October 21st, 2023 at Saint Kate – The Arts Hotel


We surpassed our goal and raised

Over $54,000 Dollars!

We sincerely appreciate your presence at the 2023 ULC Gala— Hollywood Glam. With your generous contribution we continue to build the Haberman and Tyler Urban Advancement Program to support the needs of those directly enrolled in ULC Programs, our charter school MESA and continuous efforts to service the community surrounding the school aged child.

On behalf of the ULC Board of Directors and the community we serve, I want to again personally thank you for helping us make a positive difference. Your support encourages our continued commitment to reaching our goal!

Thank you once again,
Laci Coppins Robbins, Ed.D.
Executive Director

Even though the gala is over, you can still donate to your mission!

We were honored to have the amazing Shannon Sims from TMJ4 host, and give out five awards to incredibly deserving educators. 

We surpassed our goal of $50,000! This impressive amount will enable us to send a future educator through our Wisconsin teacher licensing program, provide leveled ebook classroom libraries, and offer over 100 hours of mentoring and professional learning opportunities.

Don’t miss out your invitation next year!
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Watch the Recap Video!


Keith Carrington

Legacy Award

The Legacy Award celebrates excellence by those recognized for their achievements.

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Keith Allen Carrington was born on April 10, 1974, in Dallas, Texas. Keith’s formal education began in the Dallas Public School system prior to moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In Milwaukee, Keith attended

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School and VCY Middle School. He attended Heritage Christian High School where he was a talented basketball player. Keith earned his BA in Africology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He received a MA in Administrative Leadership from Alverno College and attended Cardinal Stritch University as a doctoral student.

Keith was a deacon at Lighthouse Gospel Chapel serving under the leadership of his father, James H.
Carrington Sr. He often volunteered and ministered to men at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission and the Guest House.

Keith met the love of his life Tanzanique in 1994, and the two were married on July 26, 1997. They were blessed to become parents of their daughter, Cairee.

Keith began his 25-year career with Milwaukee Public Schools in 1997 as a paraprofessional. He would later become a teacher, an assistant principal, and a principal. Prior to becoming an administrator, he spent summers instructing and mentoring students at Marquette University through its National Youth Sports Program (NYSP). His greatest joy was becoming the principal of North Division High School in 2016.

Keith was determined to change the narrative about the school. His motto was, “don’t go by what you heard about North Division, go by what you see.” He was committed to providing quality education to the students in the impoverished 53206 zip code. As if working as a principal wasn’t enough, Keith also served as a lead security supervisor at the Fiserv Forum with the Milwaukee Bucks.

In his leisure, Keith enjoyed traveling, watching wrestling and basketball, and great food. Keith was the ultimate sneakerhead, collecting hundreds of pairs of shoes. He was a diehard Dallas Cowboys fan who never gave up on his team.

Keith was a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. where he served as the chair of Kappa League, the fraternity’s mentoring arm for young men. He was also a board member of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Black School Educators (MMABSE), and a board member of the Administrators and Supervisors Council (ASC).

Keith Allen Carrington unexpectedly departed this life on August 22, 2022. He is truly missed by his family, friends, colleagues, and students.

Bette Anette Davis

MESA Staff Member of the Year

Recognizes exemplary MESA staff member who best represents all the core values of Milwaukee Environmental Science Academy

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My name is Bette “Annette” Davis. Science (STEM) Teacher and School Guidance Counselor. I have been
employed at Milwaukee Environmental Sciences Academy for over four years. I am a graduate of Purdue
University, Bachelors of Science in Engineering & Technology, and I have earned a Masters of Art in School Counseling from Lakeland University. Recently, I was bestowed to honor of teacher of being the year 2023, Metropolitan Milwaukee Alliance of Black School Educator (MMABSE). I am a member of the Society of Black Engineers (inactive), and The Purdue Club of Wisconsin (inactive). Also, I am a license Evangelist Missionary for the Church Of God In Christ, Inc.

I am proud to be the mother of three children and a grandmother of nine. It is my privilege to say, my three children are all college graduates, homeowners, and productive persons in the community in which they reside. I was a foster mother for over 20 years, fostering 25 children here in Milwaukee County.

Someone asked me a question that I feel is noteworthy to share. The question was, “Why did you become a teacher?” That was an easy question to answer. Firstly, I replied with, I’m commissioned to be an “Agent of Change.” My overarching goal at this juncture of my life is to is to assist in the paradigm shift in the lives of our youth today. Daily, I engage and challenge my scholars with enthusiasm, teaching them how to speak and articulate with clarity, and to become future world leaders. I am so passionate about my students’ success because they will become our future professionals. To assist in that paradigm shift, I am investing and pouring into their lives now, because one of them may become my doctor in the future! It is my privilege to ultimately infuse an attitude of excellence!

Thirdly, as a Teacher and Counselor at MESA, I am responsible daily for presenting a learning platform which provides an environment that would be conducive to positive learning. I have an old school style of teaching, so, I communicate with my scholars on an old school level, which ultimately produces positive student motivation. Here at MESA, we are encouraged when we are teaching, to incorporate problem-solving and analytical skills needed for students to be successful in this 21 st . century. Allow me to end with this, I have a friend named Jude, who wrote a letter with a voice of compassion. He wrote; “And of some have compassion, making a difference.” Every day I question myself, did I make a difference in a child’s life today? My overarching goal is to make a difference… that’s why I am a teacher. In short, my scholars at MESA will reap the benefits of having a rigorous learning experience because MESA scholars are Scientifically Amazing!

Tonda Thompson

Trailblazer Award

The Trailblazer Award recognizes change agents who take risks in order to lead the way for others.

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As the CEO of J.R. Creative Holdings, the parent company for She Slangs Wood Co, Valor Creative Collective and Vogue Dreams Production, Tonda Thompson considers her life’s mission is to encourage others to walk with authority in everything that they do. Being a Runway model in Los Angeles taught Tonda how to accept rejection as a fuel to keep going. Following the tragic death of her first son, Terrell, Tonda spearheaded a career as a serial entrepreneur and community advocate. She took this path to find solutions and preventative methods to reduce Social Determinants of Health that have negative effects to the wellbeing of Black maternal, infant and fetal health within the United States. Tonda is the founder of The National Coalition for Healthy Black Families, Inc (NCHBF) and has created events such as the HaRUNbee 5K, that honors Terrell’s life. Tonda is I a developer, a teacher, a model, sometimes a politician, and a mother who is aiming to find life-changing solutions for the future.

Toni Fink

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is Urban Learning Collaborative’s highest honor. It celebrates prestigious completers of the ULC Teacher Certification program for their professional achievements and contributions to the community.

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I grew up in Milwaukee in a loving family that believed in overcoming obstacles through education and hard work. With their support, I was the first one in my immediate family to attend college, where I majored in Spanish. I am grateful to the MTEC program that allowed me to receive a dual teaching license in elementary and bilingual education, making my dream to be a teacher come true! I have lived in Mexico and Ecuador and traveled extensively throughout Latin America to broaden my understanding of the intricacies of the Spanish language and the different cultures. This is why teaching at Spanish Immersion is a perfect fit for me. I am unapologetically committed to meeting my students’ needs for academic and personal success. I have loved being a part of the Milwaukee Spanish Immersion Community for the last 23 years. My biggest career accomplishments are the lifelong relationships I have created with my students and families. I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with family and friends. Cooking is a passion of mine and I enjoy the privilege of cooking for loved ones and friends. I love getting lost in a good book and being in nature. This is what heals my soul and brings me joy!

Facebook: Toni Fink
Instagram:latonita33 Toni Alamo Fink

Dannette J Justus

Rising Star Award

The Rising Star Award recognizes an emerging leader whose record reflects ongoing and exceptional contributions to the profession and increased levels of leadership and responsibility.

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Dannette has taught elementary grades in Milwaukee Public Schools for the past 31 years and also served as Academic Coach. Her love for books led her to launch her very own YouTube channel, JustUs and Books. Dannette received more than 1,500 views for her reading of “Pete the Cat: I love my White Shoes, I Love Strawberries, and A World Without Our People.”

Ms. Justus goes the extra mile to help bring a “Culture and Love of Reading” to students. Because of Dannette, her inner-city students have traveled to a pizza parlor, MLB baseball diamond, NFL football stadium, and an NBA arena…where she connected her love literacy with landmarks across Milwaukee and Wisconsin!

Dannette is a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and a member of Delta Sigma Theta, Sorority, Inc.

The Read Aloud as reset!

Reading aloud is the foundation for literacy development and the single most important activity for reading success! It provides children with a demonstration of phrased, fluent reading. Kids get excited about what teachers get excited about and learn to love a variety of genres, narratives, and perspectives found in picture books. Read-alouds build background knowledge, develop the listener’s interest in books, and increases their desire to become a reader.

Thank you to our 2023 sponsors


Life Empowered Consulting Services, LLC Summit Credit Union
Ritz Holman CPAs Vizance
A&A Services and Transportation John J. Peterburs and Jill M Miller Charitable Fund
  Educators Credit Union


urban learning collaborative

Urban Learning Collaborative: A Legacy of Learning

Founded in 1996, the Urban Learning Collaborative, Formerly Milwaukee Teacher Education Center (MTEC), is a not-for-profit, comprehensive, results-oriented, professional development center designed to prepare, support, and retain teachers and school leaders across Wisconsin. We support children and their learning by offering educators certification programs, customized professional development workshops, and elbow-to-elbow instructional coaching that are all focused on increasing learning and closing achievement gaps.

Urban Learning Collaborative’s mission is to invest in urban communities by expanding access to academic, personal, and professional growth opportunities. This event features powerful storytelling and lots of opportunities to make the impossible possible. Educational opportunities are more than singular moments and experiences. They are doorways to a better future.