Brittney-Lynn Filimoehala-Egan, acting unit director at the Lomita Park Elementary School site for the Mid-Peninsula Boys & Girls Club (MPBGC), was named as one of five winners of the 49ers Foundation’s Dr. Harry Edwards “Follow Your Bliss” grant award.
The 49ers Foundation created the grant award program in 2017 to recognize full-time Bay Area educators “who exemplify a commitment to their students, families and communities to lead the future generation with purpose, passion, dedication and love.”
Filimoehala-Egan was recognized for leading over 125 students at Lomita Park Elementary in San Bruno, many of whom are at-risk youth, to meet grade level standards before and during the pandemic.
“MPBGC use the same standardized testing program as their partner schools, including Lomita Park Elementary, to measure students’ academic progress at the Club sites in comparison to the schools they attend,” according to the 49ers Foundation. “The most recent annual assessment showed that even during the pandemic, all eight Kindergarten and Transition-Kindergarten students in Brittney’s program scored higher in their assessments than the other students in their classroom.”
In a statement, Filimoehala-Egan said she’s proud to be part of an organization that can support students amid an extraordinary and difficult time in history.
“We make the most significant impact by supporting young people [to] achieve great futures through career exploration, academic success, youth mentorship, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” she said.
Fellow 2021 winners of the Dr. Harry Edwards “Follow Your Bliss” award include Emmanuel Steward, principal at Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy Elementary School in San Francisco; Cory Jong, 6th Grade teacher at Urban Promise Academy in East Oakland; Binh Dao, 3rd-4th Grade Teacher at Longwood Elementary in Hayward; and Michele Lamons-Raiford, an American Sign Language teacher at Pinole Valley High.
Winners receive a $5,000 stipend for in-classroom materials and resources for the next academic year, along with mentorship from the award’s namesake, Dr. Edwards, and formal recognition at an event at Levi’s Stadium with family and colleagues.
The honorees will be celebrated virtually at 4:30 p.m., June 1 (Click here to RSVP).
In 1986, Dr. Edwards was the lead organizer behind the Olympic Project for Human Rights. The movement led to Olympic athletes John Carlos and Tommie Smith from San Jose State raising their fist in Black Power salute when they received medals in the Mexico Games. The same year he also began working with the 49ers to develop programming and counseling methods for the organization.
Dr. Edwards “worked closely with head coach Bill Walsh to develop the Minority Coaches’ Internship program, which was later adopted by the NFL in 1992 and still exists today as the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship,” the 49ers Foundation said.
A St. Louis native, Dr. Edwards attended San Jose State on an athletic scholarship before earning fellowships to Cornell University, where he completed a masters and Ph.D. in sociology.
“Dr. Edwards’ work in the diversity and inclusion space has made him a leading authority on matters where race, sport, and society intersect, and he is considered a pioneering scholar in the founding of the sociology of sport as an academic discipline,” the Foundation said.