Turning Lessons in Action

On Monday, November 18, 2019, Alan Cohen ’01 returned home to address the Class of 2020 as the keynote speaker at the annual Senior Leadership Dinner. Alan is the President & CEO of the Child Poverty Action Lab, a non-profit organization committed to reducing poverty in Dallas by half in the next twenty years.

Alan spent Monday on campus meeting with students and faculty and visiting classes. During the Dinner, Alan encouraged the boys to use the skills they learn at St. Mark’s to help solve some of the world’s most complex problems, including education, socioeconomic poverty disparity, and violence. He emphasized the importance of critical thinking and working with people of various backgrounds and viewpoints. Alan shared real-world examples of how problem-solving at the government level has occurred to create programs like the Early Childhood Education strategy in Dallas ISD, a program that he spearheaded.

“As a former Marksman who has shared similar and relatable experiences as us, Mr. Cohen provided advice that was not only rewarding but truly applicable to our lives,” said Matthew Raroque ’20. “The knowledge he brought to the dinner gave us just a glimpse at the reality of what’s outside of the St. Mark’s community. The stories he shared with our class really made an impact and his initiative to fight poverty in Dallas demonstrated the power of pursuing a passion.”

Prior to his work with CPAL, Alan was the architect of DISD's nationally recognized Early Childhood Education strategy. He has also held roles as the President & CEO of Washington's statewide public-private partnership for early learning and as a key member of the startup team that launched the Commit Partnership in Dallas. Alan is a recent graduate of the 2019 Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a joint initiative between the Presidential Centers of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, and Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2015, he was recognized as one of Dallas' "40 Under 40" by the Dallas Business Journal. Alan earned his MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and his BA in Sociology from Tulane University. He was recently appointed to serve as co-chair of the Mayor’s Task Force on Safe Communities and he volunteers locally on the boards of TexProtects, United to Learn, and Workforce Solutions of Greater Dallas. Cohen is active in our Alumni programs and was recently featured in a February 2019 ReMarker article titled “The road less traveled.” Alan also appeared in the news recently, in stories published by the Dallas Morning News and KERA.

The Senior Leadership Dinner began in 2009 and has become a keystone event for the Senior Class. Over the past 10 years, the Dinner has given students a chance to engage with alumni and parents who share advice on their career, college, and leadership decisions they will face as they navigate life beyond 10600 Preston Road.

St. Mark's School of Texas

10600 Preston Road
Dallas, Texas 75230


About Us

St. Mark’s School of Texas is a private, nonsectarian college-preparatory boys’ day school for students in grades 1 through 12, located in Dallas, Texas. St. Mark’s aims to prepare young men to assume leadership and responsibility in a competitive and changing world.

St. Mark’s does not discriminate in the administration of its admission and education policies on the basis of race, color, religion, sexual orientation, or national or ethnic origin.