Meet The Founders


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Jayne Reed

Co-Founder

Jayne Lorraine Reed graduated from Beaumont High School in St. Louis, Missouri, at age 15. She received her R.N. degree from Homer G. Phillips Hospital School of Nursing when she was 18 years old, and became head nurse at that hospital. Fortunately for Ms. Reed, on the night she decided nursing school was too difficult and that she was leaving, her mother, Jewel Murray, met her at the front door of her dormitory and literally dared her to take another step. This experience marked a turning point in Ms. Reed’s life. She understands the importance of adult presence and involvement in the lives of young people as they are challenged to complete their education.

In 1983, Ms. Reed met Simon Estes and together they undertook a project to translate her desire of helping disenfranchised youth attain higher educational goals into reality. After discussing the plight of some Tulsa-area students with Mr. Estes, she arranged to have him speak at a student assembly at a local high school. Mr. Estes shared poignant experiences from his background. Later, Mr. Estes expressed a willingness to help Ms. Reed create an organization to benefit deserving Tulsa-area youth. Subsequently, other concerned Tulsans joined their effort and The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. was formed.

In addition to her role as Co-Founder of The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc., Ms. Reed has also served her community as a board volunteer of Tulsa Ballet Theatre, Tulsa Opera, Tulsa Urban League, Y.W.C.A., Tulsa Performing Arts Center Trust, At Risk Child Abuse Prevention Program, and Girl Scouts of America. She is an alumnus of Leadership Tulsa, a program dedicated to expanding leadership and community service, and a Harwelden Award Recipient.

Jayne Reed is the mother of The Reverend Glenna Reed Huber and Lawrence A. Reed, Jr.

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Simon Estes

Co-Founder

Internationally renowned opera star, Simon Estes, garners enthusiastic praise from critics and audiences around the world. He has performed with all the major opera companies: the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Grand Opera Paris, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the State Operas of Munich, Hamburg, Vienna, and the Zurich Opera. Among his operatic engagements have been performances of “Macbeth”, “The Flying Dutchman”, “Salome”, “Parsifal”, “Simon Boccanegra”, “Tosca”, “Prince Igor”, “Der Ring des Nibelungen”, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He has also performed recitals and orchestral engagements in numerous European cities including Brussels, Madrid, Munich, Bonn, Toulouse, Paris, Lausanne, Bordeaux, and Zurich.

A native of Centerville, Iowa, Simon Estes first sang at the age of eight in the city’s Second Baptist Church. While working his way through the University of Iowa as a pre-med and psychology student, he became the first black member of the University’s Old Gold Singers. As a member of this group, he came to the attention of faculty member Charles Kellis, his first and most important teacher with whom he still studies today. After entering Juilliard School, Simon Estes went to Europe with a grant from the Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation and with funds raised for him by the New York Community Trust and the NAACP. He made his operatic debut with the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Ramfis in “Aida”.

Known throughout the world for his opera, concert, and recital performances as well as his recordings, Simon Estes still finds time to share his love and knowledge of music with students from elementary school through college. In his master classes he teaches not only music, but artistic and personal values as well. Since 1985, Mr. Estes has taught at the Juilliard School of Music. His love and concern for youth is also manifested in the four scholarship organizations he has created. The Simon Estes Educational Foundation, Inc. in Tulsa is the most broad-based. Annually, a selection of students are offered major scholarships to enable them to attend the universities of their choice and pursue chosen majors. The success of this Foundation has spawned the formation of The Simon Estes International Foundation, Inc., Zurich, Switzerland in 1984 and The Simon Estes Foundation, Cape Town, South Africa in 1996. Restricted music scholarships are offered in Estes’ name at Centerville Community College, the University of Iowa, and through the Simon Estes Iowa Arts Scholarship Fund.

Simon Estes is the father of three lovely daughters: Jennifer Barbara, Lynne Ashley, and Tiffany Joy.

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