At the Rather Prize, we want to improve Texas education and we want to hear your idea.

Want to introduce a new classroom teaching philosophy?
Want to talk about your experience with the Texas testing system?
Want to tell us your love for the school?
We're all ears.

We are the Rather Prize.

We care about education, and we care about Texas.

Together, we can drive big change in 3 small steps.

Truth: Texas needs you.

Texas is famous for a lot: our size, our pride, and our barbecue.
But Texas is also known for its long-standing struggle with education.

Our children and schools need a spark. To quote Dan Rather, "God did not create Texas to be 47th in anything."

Founded in August 2015, the Rather Prize is a small step in the larger American fight for education reform.

We put together a ten thousand dollar prize for the best idea to improve Texas education. Backed by lengendary journalist Dan Rather and his grandson Martin Rather, the prize identifies and implements courageous local-level ideas from educators and students.


Our Winner

Congratulations to Austin’s Eastside Memorial High School for winning the inaugural Rather Prize with their excellent proposal on a mentorship program, the STEP Up Challenge.

With the goal of strengthening matriculation strategies to colleges and universities for minority and underrepresented populations, Eastside Memorial’s Dr. Sanford Jeames’ program will form partnerships for high schools with universities and local businesses in order to provide guidance for high school students and professional development for teachers.

A New Beginning

Despite school efforts to prepare them for college and the outside world, many of Dr. Sanford Jeames’ students at Eastside Memorial High School have never seen people of color in high-paying, high-powered jobs.

(Read More)

We are the Rather Prize

The Leadership Team

Dan Rather

Martin Rather

Dan Rather, host of AXS TV's The Big Interview, is a native of Wharton, Texas and the son of an oil pipeline worker. Texas has always been his home. Before becoming one of television's most notable journalists, he received his entire education through Texas public schools. He is honored to give back to his home state through the Rather Prize. Martin Rather is the Founder and Operational Director of the Rather Prize. He is the author of The High School Truth, a guidebook to high school written solely by high school students. He is a sophomore at Rice University currently majoring in history.

The Advisory Board

Caroline Quenemoen

William King

Purvez Captain

Sanford Jeames

Caroline Quenemoen is the Executive Director of the Center for Civic Leadership at Rice University. In this role she leads the development and implementation of programs, curriculum, and partnerships that foster civic leadership in Rice undergraduates and creates mutually beneficial university-community partnerships locally, nationally, and globally. She holds a Ph.D in Classical Archaeology from Yale University. A native of San Antonio, Texas, William “Wiggens” King first entered the education world as a tutor to neighbors and friends while in high school in New Orleans. After continuing to tutor through college while attending the University of the South and Tulane University’s Masters Program, he had a decades-long teaching career at a half-dozen schools across the nation. Purvez Captain, of Houston, TX, is the Global Director of Ernst & Young LLP's Oil and Gas Transfer Pricing and Economics practice. He is the founder of Rice University's GradConnect, an initiative linking graduate alumni with current students for mentorships. He holds a doctorate in Economics from Rice University. Sanford E. Jeames, DHA coordinates the Health Science Program at Eastside Memorial High School and serves as a faculty member at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Texas. He was the inaugural winner of the Rather Prize for his idea to improve mentorship and college access for his students. His interests are in health education, cancer prevention and healthier lifestyle interventions, with a focus on underserved populations. He has published articles in peer reviewed journals on the topics of community based participatory research, with use of peer educators from minority populations.

The Development Team

Daisy Gray

Jaecey Parham

Gunny Liu

Priya Kane

Daisy is a sophomore from Cary, NC, majoring in Economics and Political Science. She loves education, and believes that we can all work together to improve the public education system-the backbone of our society. After Rice, she hopes to further her studies in law school, and own multiple golden retrievers. Jaecey is a junior from Lubbock, TX, majoring in English with a Business minor. She believes that teachers are the largest catalyst for progress in our education system, and is committed to being an advocate for them. She foresees her future self making a difference in the world of journalism, teaching, or business. Gunny is a sophomore from Singapore, Singapore, majoring in Computer Science and Applied Mathematics. He believes strongly that education is everybody’s business, and that any remote degree of change in the educational landscape world begins with the individual. He dreams uncontrollably of electric sheep, Haruki Murakami and bargain-buy H.E.B. New York Strips. Priya is a sophomore from Sugar Land, TX, majoring in Psychology with a Business minor. She believes in creating more opportunities for students of diverse backgrounds to reduce prevailing disparities in education. In the future, she is considering graduate school in law, business, or public health.

Improving Texas education

one idea at a time

Here at the Rather Prize, we believe that big, groundbreaking movements are a culmination of tiny baby steps.
No idea is too small. If it speaks to you, share it with us.

Rather Prize 2016 Application

"Never doubt that a small team of dedicated individuals can change the world.
In fact, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead