Stepping Stones Charter School, Houston, TX

Committed. Creative. Extraordinary. That’s how others describe Program Coordinator Lawrence English at Stepping Stones Charter School. “Coach Lawrence” has gone the extra mile to make the most of his AmeriCorps service at the school.

In addition to his active recesses, which he runs on an excruciatingly small, long fenced playground about the width of a driveway (shared with a wooden play structure!), Coach Lawrence has organized tournaments, started a running club and dedicated many Saturdays for girls’ basketball practice.

He’s has taken his after-school students beyond their own communities through a photo exchange he started with 15 other Playworks schools around the country. His idea is to show the students that every yard and school is different, but that the power of play has a universal effect on every child across the nation.

Lawrence was selected by a nationwide vote of his peers and colleagues at Playworks as the 2011 Rookie of the Year.