Uplift Education remembers Phil Montgomery


Contributed by Yasmin Bhatia, Uplift Education CEO

One year ago today, the Montgomery family, Uplift Education and the city of Dallas lost a great leader—Philip Montgomery, III.  I want to take today to remember not his passing but the legacy Phil left for his beloved city of Dallas.

For Uplift Education, Phil was the catalyst that expanded Uplift from one school, Uplift North Hills, to the 32 schools you see today in Dallas, Arlington, Irving and Fort Worth.  He was deeply committed to education.  His vision was simple: one day every child in North Texas should go to an excellent public school that puts them on a path to college.   He believed Uplift would be the proof point for showing what is possible in education. We are forever grateful for his leadership and gifts of time and talents to our organization and our great city.

I can’t help but think of how proud Phil would have been as we started our school year with 12,000 scholars all of which are on a path to college.  In addition to leading Uplift’s board and other committees, Phil and his wife Carol both mentored a pair of high school seniors on their journey to college.  This last year Uplift had its first Stanford University acceptance, Phil’s alma mater, and I thought to myself how excited Phil would have been to know that one of our scholars would be attending such a prestigious school and what that would mean for that student’s future.

Phil was selfless with his time and passion for doing what is right for our city.  I know he would be proud of the advancements Uplift and the city of Dallas has made in just one short year.  He helped lay a foundation for Uplift’s success and our team here works every day to ensure that Phil’s vision is executed—all kids attending an excellent public school that puts them on a path to college.

I hope you will take a moment today and post to Uplift’s Facebook page a memory that you have about Phil Montgomery.  He was such an inspiration to me and many others in our community. Thank you to those of you who share Phil’s vision and passion for what is possible for all children in our city. We are grateful for your continued support.

One thought on “Uplift Education remembers Phil Montgomery

  1. October 9, 2014

    Phil Montgomery

    Today, we are a year out from our community’s loss of Phil Montgomery as a civic leader and friend. Like so many others, I am trying to find the words to express what he meant to us; that unique value-add that made his life and his departure so significant. Trying to anchor my thoughts I re-read my notes from a year ago, a short paragraph on his dedication to improving education is cut and pasted below.

    Phil was unique as a role model. He did not want to manage a large organization preferring to remain in more agile and innovative positions. From these positions he connected on important issues all across our city. Phil gave lots of advice but this is not what was impactful about him. What made him impactful was that he consistently modeled values in ways that only occasionally required words of explanation. He modeled his belief that collective impact was more important than individual accomplishment or credit, that there was a way to deliver almost any unpopular opinion or difficult news with respect for the dignity of others, and that life was about people, family most of all, but also friends and trusted colleagues. As busy, and as physically challenged at the end as Phil was, he was never too busy to do the right thing at a time and place that allowed all of us to learn from him all. This last year has been filled with so many things reminders of his astonishing influence.


    October 2013

    Phil shared an unwavering optimism that… if provided an equal opportunity and a high bar children would reach it. He had an almost religious fervor about this. This morning I had someone I work with open a staff morning meeting focused on leadership development using Phil, who most of them had not met, as a model of why adult persistence… of why keeping at this really hard work is critical to the cause of student persistence. I expect to hear stories about him over and over again as others continue the work to eliminate the achievement gap.

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