by Celina Cardenas Fleites
Manager of Public Affairs, Atmos Energy Corporation

Vice Chair, Community Division (Public Policy and Education & Workforce Committees), Richardson Chamber of Commerce

The logic is sound: if our community is better educated, it's better for everyone. Although it makes sense, the national tide of funding is actually flowing away from education in favor of other things. Programs are being cut, and students are receiving less academic and personal support than they have for years. Here's a simple fact:

Good education and good communities go hand-in-hand

This doesn't mean one strong school as a flagship, as it is in many larger communities. It means significant investment in education across states, cities, towns, rural areas, and communities until children in our community and our country receive the education they deserve.

Why? The answer is simple. Education is the economic driver of success and production in our communities. It starts in kindergarten, and on up to 12th grade. When students receive support at the beginning, they're more likely to pursue higher education, whether as part of a trade program or a university. They're more likely to understand civic responsibility and community engagement.

On the other side of the coin, areas where schools have been underfunded for a long time see disengaged citizens. Unsupported students grow up with a mindset that they are not highly regarded by the decision-makers in their area, because frankly, they aren't.

What can we do about it?

As business owners and citizens, we often ignore the lasting effects of a strong education system in terms of our own lives. But consider this: a larger crop of successful students in our community will mean a larger pool of potential employees. The business community will benefit when strong students stay around. The ones that leave will benefit other communities near and far.

So what's the solution? Support your local education system. Vote in favor of funding bills for education. If you run a business, use education as your outlet for philanthropy whenever possible. Ensure that the students in your community have access to school supplies, books and other tools to maximize their education, because when the education system is strong, the community grows as a whole and becomes a better place to live.

​Support iDream Day

iDream 2019 is a one-day program for 7th grade students to learn more about opportunities available to them after high school. This is the second year of the program that connects students to professionals to learn more about career opportunities. 
Serve on a panel and talk to small groups of students about your business and industry

  • Connect with students and inspire them
  • Educate students about careers of the future
  • Support the region’s workforce goals

Friday, Jan. 11

8:30 am – 3 pm 
Richland College 
Register online to volunteer: 
Contact Kim Quirk for more information at or 972-792-2809

by Celina Cardenas Fleites, Manager of Public Affairs, Atmos Energy Corporation

Vice Chair, Community Division (Public Policy and Education & Workforce Committees), Richardson Chamber of Commerce