Our recent Mentor Appreciation celebration was bittersweet in that we bid farewell to our Founding Executive Director Sari Waxler, who has retired. Please enjoy the letter that Sari included in the printed program for the event.
Dear Seedling Mentors, School Partners, Supporters, and Families,
It has been my great honor to have served our community by joining together with all of you in the experience we have lovingly referred to as Seedling’s Promise. That notion of making a promise that we were committed to fulfilling was and remains at the core of who we are as an organization.
- We promise to train and support you, our mentors.
- We promise, parents, to keep your children safe.
- We promise, students, to see the promise or potential in each of you.
- We promise to deliver a research-based, state of the art mentor program.
Together with my team, each of whom is dedicated to his or her specific role in Seedling’s Promise, I welcome you to this celebration honoring you and your service.
Today’s celebration will be my last as Executive Director of the Seedling Foundation. I’m leaving this foundation, which has afforded me one of the richest experiences of my professional career, to begin a new chapter of my life with job titles that sound like wife, mom, daughter, mentor, and Gammy. While those positions are ones that I relish and anticipate with great joy, it’s never easy leaving people you love, work that is enriching every day, and the energy that comes with building something you’re very proud of. I will take with me the memories of all of you who joined me on the journey, who continue doing this important work called mentoring, and who, through your efforts, are helping to rewrite some life scripts for children.
I hope it will always be important to you to be well prepared and effective mentors, to fulfill your commitment, and to stay informed about the issues pertaining to incarcerated persons and their families. These are the qualities that set Seedling mentors apart from others.
If it is true that hope is why struggling children get out of bed in the morning, then just know that each of you is playing a very real role in extending that hope to a child. Your presence. Your warmth. Your caring. Your best self that you so generously offer. These are transformative gifts, and I will always be profoundly grateful that you were willing to share them.
With respect and admiration,
Executive Director of the Seedling Foundation
-(Master’s Degree from Southwest Texas State University)
Sari brought over thirty years of experience in education to the Seedling Foundation. Prior to joining the Seedling Foundation in August of 2006, Mrs. Waxler directed the Austin Independent School District’s highly successful GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs) project, a $15 million federal grant funded initiative dedicated to increasing college participation rates of first generation students.
A former teacher, counselor, crisis responder, high school program specialist in Guidance and Counseling, and grant manager, Sari has extensive experience at all levels of public education. Her contributions in the development of counseling and school to work curriculum and programming have been shared with colleagues at local, state and national levels and as a result of her leadership, hundreds of AISD students have visited college and university campuses throughout the state while their parents learned about college admissions and financial aid through the GEAR UP initiative, “Parent University,” now supported by AISD.
Mother of two, and married for many happy years to Mel Waxler, Sari brought her educational experience, executive capability and empathy for children to serve the Seedling Foundation.