A conversation with Linh Song

. December 1, 2015.

Song, a social worker who received her MSW from the University of Michigan, has a long history of making a difference. She previously led two nonprofits, was active in the PTO at Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School, and sits on a number of local nonprofit boards such as Neutral Zone and CivCity. She and her husband have two kids, ages 10 and 5, in Ann Arbor Public Schools.

“My parents were refugees from Vietnam and Laos so I grew up learning English and studying alongside them,” says Song. “They worked as janitors, fixed cars, all kinds of small jobs while going to school and raising their family. I think I inherited their work ethic and trust in American public schools.”

All about the schools

Song’s work ethic is apparent in her leadership as AAPSEF’s Executive Director. In just one year, she lead the charge to successfully raise $350,000 to bring Project Lead The Way, a project-based curriculum, to all middle schools. “Now Ann Arbor Public School students won’t have to wait until high school to spend time in labs outfitted with 3D printers, construction tools, and engineering kits or to learn from teachers trained in basics in engineering and computer science.”

AAPSEF is different than, yet complementary to, PTO organizations, Song further explains. While PTOs are based in individual schools, the AAPSEF acts as a steward for large, long-term gifts that can be distributed to several schools. Currently, there are over 30 donor funds, which support extras, like sports fees and music camp scholarships. These items are critical to students’ educational experience, yet would otherwise be out of reach for approximately 1/3 of the students in Ann Arbor Public Schools, due to economic struggles.

“Donors make a significant difference in school communities,” said Song. “You can see this happening at the Bach playground mural, little free libraries throughout the district, to making sure every 8th grader could view the film Selma.”

“I encourage families to reach out to us,” Song concludes, “and let us know if you see a need in our schools. We’d love a chance to work together!”

Linh Song, Executive Director, Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation, 734-794-3070, song@aapsef.org