About us

Who we are

Beyond the Text, Inc. was established in July, 2021 for the sole purpose of bringing the community to the school and the school to the community.

We seek to partner with schools and learners to enhance learning through field trips, guest speakers, scholarships, career fairs, and community service projects. We feel students learn better through doing and not just from reading a textbook. For instance, a student can learn about the Vietnam War in a textbook, but their learning will go much further if they follow up that reading by listening to a local Vietnam Vet who was actually there. In some ways, our goal is to take students to the primary source, to allow them to touch reality. Too many students are taught that learning comes down to reading a textbook, taking notes from a teacher, learning testing strategies, and then taking a paper-based test. At Beyond the Text, Inc. we declare that such a process is incomplete. Physics students need to meet with an engineer and visit a factory. English students need to be inspired by a local author who took their learning beyond the classroom. 

Our approach

David Gillespie, Founder and President:

fter teaching eight years of teaching at IDEA Public Schools in the Rio Grande Valley “Mr. Gillespie” (or “Mr. G” or “G$” as he was known to some of his students) decided he needed to step away from teaching in order to address some of the shortcoming of the public school. Specifically, he had become disillusioned with the drive for data that was precipitated entirely on the notion that passing tests and getting “A’s” was the most important factor in the success of a student. This ill advised drive of schools meant that an extreme amount of focus was placed on passing tests and not actual learning. David felt that learning should not end at the passing of a test. Rather, students should apply their learning by receiving hands-on learning in the form of visiting places where such learning could be touched, questioned, and learned from the experts. Students in Mr. Gillespie’s classes got a taste of such learning. His AP Human Geography visited the houses of worship of all the major religions to really learn about Hinduism, Judaism, etc. His AP US Government and Politics students were able to have a question and answer with the office of their local representative. His College Prep classes were exposed to future careers with a local FBI agent. He has taken that experience to Beyond the Text, Inc., whose mission is to enhance the learning in schools through field trips, guest speakers, scholarships, career fairs, and community service. 

Rose Rareba, Director:

A stay-at-home mother who raised eight children who are a mix of entrepreneurs, medical professionals, and more, Rose Rareba has been a heavy participant in her community through her church service and volunteering in her local school district. In 2019 she served as the marketing director for Paradise Gardens in Bayview, Texas, helping coordinate the Mango Festival. Having lived in Mexico during a part of her childhood, Rose speaks fluent Spanish. Innovative and passionate, Rose brings these skills to Beyond the Text, Inc. to work with community and school partners. 

Lavenia Gillespie, Director:

Married to Dave, Lavenia is a certified speech-therapist. A graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, Brigham Young University-Provo, and the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, Lavenia is a mother of five who brings her creativity and passion to Beyond the Text, Inc.