Robert DeHaas is the Co-Founder and CEO of Dallas Teacher Residency, the only urban teacher residency program of its type in the North Texas area. DeHaas received his Bachelor’s in Public Policy from Duke University and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Principal Certification from DePaul University’s College of Education. He also received his Master’s of Business Administration, with a concentration in Strategy & Entrepreneurship from the Edwin Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.
Before Co-Founding and launching Dallas Teacher Residency in June 2013, DeHaas served as the Director of Operations for Uplift Heights Preparatory, a K-12 Charter School located in West Dallas. He assisted in the start-up and launch of the Heights Primary School, and oversaw the groundbreaking and initial construction of a new high school building that opened in August 2013.
Growing up, DeHaas had the utmost respect for education because of how hard his mother and grandmother, who were both teachers, worked to be effective. DeHaas explains that he is a product of public K-12 education and has seen firsthand how quality public education can ‘work.’ According to DeHaas, “providing high quality education to all, regardless of zip code, is the greatest challenge we face today as a country.”
DeHass was impressed by the DePaul College of Education’s focus on urban education, and its many graduates who serve the city of Chicago. The tools and knowledge that he gained from the Educational Leadership courses taken with Professors Bill Hoecker, and Barbara Reickhoff, are courses that he continues to utilize even today. DeHaas pinpoints two themes from these courses: 1) The importance of establishing authentic relationships within the community that you work in and 2) The importance of ‘learning by doing’ as it relates to preparing educational leaders to serve in urban school settings through actually training in urban school settings. The best way to prepare teachers to serve in urban schools is to have them train in urban schools.
DeHaas attributes the overall success of teacher residency programs to fellow DePaul Graduate and founder of Urban Teacher Residency United, Anissa Listak. For DeHaas, the idea of founding Dallas Teacher Residency stemmed from the experience he and his co-founder had in working with other established teacher residency programs; specifically in opening a LEARN Charter School Network school on the south side of Chicago where they worked closely with, and were successful in hiring teachers from Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) and University of Chicago’s residency program, UTEP.
DeHaas is a firm believer in the fact that the classroom teacher serves as the most important in-school factor in contributing to a students’ academic performance. This motivates him in his fight for a renewed focus on teacher preparation to ensure that all students, regardless of zip code are provided with an effective classroom teacher. In turn, this will lead to students receiving high-quality education. DeHaas states that he believes that a DePaul education instills a sense of service into all of its graduates. He explains, “Whether this experience is gathered through rich discussions with professors or classmates, or through robust experiential learning conducted through fieldwork, DePaul certainly provided me with an educational platform that has allowed me to pursue work in a field, and for a cause that I am passionate about. There are so many others doing great work throughout the country in the education space, that I hope the relatively small impact our organization is making today, can impact so many more in the near future.”