The reason I support future teachers now

Wendy Peia Oakes: Associate Professor, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College

My Story

Nearly 30 years ago, I became a middle school special education teacher in Sarasota, Florida, with a mission to improve educational access and outcomes for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. I eventually left the K–12 classroom to become an instructor and research associate at the Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt and, later, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

I am fully invested in working to support the Arizona State University students in my classes, as I was in 13 years as a special education teacher. I know the quality of education that children with special educational needs receive tomorrow depends on the nurturing and learning experiences their prospective teachers receive today.

Why I Give

My husband, Dan, and I support scholarships for MLFTC students. This year, we created an endowment to support the Oakes Peia Scholarship for students entering the special education field.

Every day, special educators have an opportunity to positively impact the life of a child and their family. Every day is challenging and rewarding. Special education teachers are a talented group of professionals committed to creating positive learning experiences for each child to grow and develop.

What I Care About

Helping others has always been a strong value in our family and we are extremely fortunate to be able to do so.

  • Scholarship support for MLFTC students.
  • The Oakes Peia Scholarship for students entering the special education field.
  • The Dean McGrath Scholarship Fund for emergency assistance to MLFTC students facing financial hardship.
For Wendy and Dan and their daughters, Katie and Abby, helping others has always been important. The long-term result Dan hopes for is, “… that we help students achieve their dreams of becoming teachers, and that they are able to touch the lives of many of their students — changing the world one student at a time.”

‘Why I Give’: Stories from ASU faculty and staff



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ASU Foundation

ASU Foundation


ASU Foundation, one of Arizona’s oldest nonprofits, raises and invests private contributions to Arizona State University.