Meet Dr. Renny Lajara, our Education Advisor behind the movement #LoveWinsInEducation (#LoveWinsEd).

What is Love Wins?

 

“Love Wins” is a phrase that I have always used in my educational career, as I believe education doesn’t happen without the love of parents, administrators and above all, teachers. I have always used love as my main tool to teach and lead and have experienced, first-hand, the difference it makes in the lives of everyone involved.

 

The power of love in education is a value I strive to instill in the teachers, parents, and students I serve; I started #LovesWinsInEducation (#LoveWinsEd) with the mission to spread this message around the world. Through the #LoveWinsEd movement, we hear and share people’s stories of how love played a role in their education and the greater impact it had on their lives.

 

There is no doubt that education is suffering, and even more so as we continue to adjust to new practices resulting from the pandemic, differing opinions on curriculums and teaching methods, and so much more. I believe that everyone needs to hear a message that uplifts, inspires, and is centered in love, because at the heart, “Love Wins!”

 

How did Love Wins start and why? 

The idea for #LoveWinsEd started about a year ago, as soon as we shut down schools due to COVID-19. I was thinking of a way to spread love, hope, and positivity in the world, so I created the Love Wins logo. I had no idea where to start or how to get the word out and, as with many things, I was afraid it would fail. But after seeing many teachers, administrators, and the education system itself portrayed in such a negative light, I decided it was the right time to start sharing this message.

How does #LoveWinsEd support your role as The Hamels Foundation’s Education Advisor?

The Hamels Foundation will always hold a special place in my heart. I was the first-ever recipient of their Partners in Education grant, which changed my administrative career forever. I was the principal of the most underperforming and most dangerous middle school in the state of Pennsylvania. Being awarded the Partners in Education grant not only allowed us to acquire much needed resources, but it also gave us something that money could never buy…HOPE! Pursuing this grant showed my students, teachers, and community that someone was on their side and willing to work hard to improve their lives. It ultimately showed them how much they were loved and worthy of greatness.

I am excited to partner with The Hamels Foundation as a way to pay forward what they have done for me. The #LoveWinsEd movement will allow me to continuously contribute to the Foundation’s mission and fundraising initiatives. The Hamels Foundation works hard to uplift children, families, and communities across the globe through the power of education. Love Wins supports The Hamels Foundation’s idea that Education is the Answer and reminds us that the power of education is rooted in love and the belief that every student has, and deserves, the potential to be great!

Who is Renny Lajara and why did he pursue a career in education?

Dr. Renato M. Lajara is the Principal of Cheltenham High School in Pennsylvania serving over 1,400 students. He was formerly the Director of Elementary Education for the Cheltenham School District. As director, he supervised Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment for 5 elementary schools which served about 2,700 students. He is passionate about many things, but none more than education and the importance of a quality one for students who are underrepresented. He was born in the Dominican Republic and is the youngest of five children. He realized quickly that if he wanted to make a difference in the world, he needed to make a better life for himself by pursuing an education. He studied hard, earned his Bachelor’s of Arts Degree in Elementary Education from Gwynedd-Mercy University in 2002. He chose to return to the neighborhood that raised him and taught at Julia de Burgos Elementary School for 5 years from 2002-2007.

After realizing that he wanted to help and inspire more young people, he decided to return to Gwynedd-Mercy University to obtain his Master’s Degree in Educational Administration in 2008. He again, returned to his neighborhood and was chosen to turn around John B. Stetson Middle School, an underperforming school that was also on the state’s persistently dangerous list. He made this decision because he strongly believes that all children deserve a quality education from prepared, educated individuals. He believes that as educators we are lifelong learners so he then obtained a Superintendent’s Letter of Eligibility from Arcadia University in 2011. In 2015, he was appointed as the principal of Kensington High School where he served for two years. Throughout his career, he earned accolades for developing positive school cultures, ensuring equitable instructional practices, and showing academic growth in key content areas.

His aspirations are to work as a Superintendent in the future, so that he can impact a broader community. This is why he obtained his doctorate from Gwynedd-Mercy University in 2017. Renato is a dedicated leader who loves to inspire the lives of the young people that are under his care each day.

He loves to spend time with his family, his wife Vicky, Daughter Ambar and his sons Jaden and Ben. His favorite family activities are going to the movies, game night, and catching a Phillies game.

Get Involved with Love Wins

We are beyond grateful for all that Renny does to enriching the lives of students, teachers, and administrators; as well as his dedication and passion for the improving the education system. We are fortunate to have him as a part of our story here at The Hamels Foundation, and are so excited to share the important message that is #LoveWinsInEducation (#LoveWinsEd). To join the movement, purchase your Love Wins t-shirt here!