Accomplished entrepreneur Ty Humes brings passion for educational causes to Del Mar Schools Education Foundation

By Kathy Day

When Ty Humes learned his young daughter would not be able to attend Ocean Air Elementary School, which was a couple of blocks from their home, he didn’t settle for “no.”

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Ty Humes with his daughter in New York pre-Christmas 2008

The Torrey Hills resident who grew up in the Bronx — a kid from the projects who was one of 10 black students among his Catholic school student body of 1,600 — isn’t one to shy away from a challenge. Today those challenges range from serving on the boards of the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation and several other nonprofits to developing new companies blending the entertainment and technology industries.

You can tell by talking with him that he’s truly dedicated to “being all about the kids,” as he puts it when asked about interests outside his business and civic life.

Life is a little different for their two children than it was for him. When he took Emily and Joshua to their first Padres game recently, they sat three rows behind home plate. His own first Major League game was watching the Yankees from the bleacher seats.

Although they had discussed private schooling, Humes and his wife, Alice — a former Pfizer sales executive who’s now a stay-at-home mom and class mom — decided to send Emily to public school. They made the choice because the Del Mar school district has such a strong reputation, he said, adding that their daughter was really excited about going to school close to their home.

But then they learned that children from outside the neighborhood had been given priority because their schools were overcrowded.

That prompted him — and other parents — to attend a school board meeting and plead for reconsideration. His speech must have made an impact, since he quickly received a call from Ryan Stanley, Ocean Air’s principal, asking him to represent his school on the district’s Enrollment Committee to address the problem. They figured out how to make the system work for the kids, and Hume’s daughter and all but one of the other children in the neighborhood made it in via Ocean Air’s lottery. Joshua is two years away from kindergarten.

That marked the beginning of his role as a parent volunteer. This year, when he attended back-to-school night for his now-first grader, someone announced that they needed a representative for the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation. He raised his hand and after a subsequent interview was named to the foundation board. Now Humes is one of three officers, holding the title of vice president for marketing.

Humes’ generation is the first of his family to grow up in the North. His family’s roots are in the South. Some were slaves and his maternal great grandmother was a Cherokee, he noted.

His mother taught in public schools, he said, so she knew it was better to send him to a private school; his father, who died last Christmas Eve, worked for Revlon Corp. from his high school graduation to retirement as a union foreman in the maintenance and corporate landscaping division.

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