Elisa Villanueva Beard
CEO of Teach for America
Education means everything for Elisa. It started from an early age. Both of her parents - a mother who completed 7th grade, and a father who was a first-generation college student - strongly impressed upon her the value of education. Elisa excelled in her small South Texas high school, but when she arrived in college, she struggled to keep up. Feeling like an impostor among people who did not look like her, Elisa fought to develop her own sense of purpose and conviction.
After college, Elisa joined Teach for America, never expecting it to lead to the lifetime career commitment that it has evolved into. Her path through TFA led her through being a teacher for several years, then working as a regional leader, and finally - unexpectedly - being asked to take on the future of the organization as CEO. Self-confidence, gratitude, grappling with tough situations, reaching out for help, family values - these are just a few of the many experiences lessons Elisa has learned through her long, ongoing journey through education, and that she is tried to impart in her video series.
This is her story.