Guest Post by Amanda Fernandez, Founder/CEO of Latinos for Education
One short year ago I decided to take a big leap of faith – I left my job to launch Latinos for Education, a new non-profit organization. I had a vision for creating an intentional approach to recruiting, retaining and advancing Latino leadership in education, and was supported by a committed group of strong and courageous Latina leaders who share my vision.
We had countless conversations with Latinos who are already working hard to address the needs of our most underserved children, and who reflect the communities in which they work. We learned that they have a strong desire to become senior leaders in education, but that they need expanded networks and professional development to get there.
We also know that Latinos represent less than 2% of education leaders. Contrast that with changing U.S. demographics, where Latinos currently represent 1 in 4 school aged children, and the result is an ever-widening demographic gap between students and education decision makers.
The business case was there for a new organization that could close this gap — but gaining access to networks, capital and management support was a major challenge. This is the case for many entrepreneurs, but it’s an especially acute challenge for Black and Latino entrepreneurs like me.
Fortunately, with the launch of the NewSchools Diverse Leaders strategy, I was able to get the support I needed to launch my organization. The Diverse Leaders strategy is one of the first of its kind, serving as a vehicle for Black and Latino social entrepreneurs to elevate the importance of having more diverse senior leaders in education and providing the critical financial and management resources to make it happen. Latinos for Education was selected in the first funding round in early 2016 because we believe that more diversity in education will make a difference in the communities of color we serve. We applaud the visible and committed way that NewSchools is taking this on.
Thank you NewSchools, for giving us legs to stand on and for helping us make connections to other critical funders and partners. We could not be where we are today without you.