We are all living through history this year as Vice President Kamala Harris was sworn into office, becoming the first woman and woman of color to serve as Vice President of the United States. It’s hard to overstate the impact this historic representation can have on our children. For the first time ever, young women won’t just be told they can reach the highest levels of leadership in our country – they are actually able to see that leadership in action from someone who looks just like them.
Outside of the home, one of the first places kids see leadership in action is in the classroom, where 76% of all K-12 teachers in the U.S. identify as women, according to a 2018 report from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education. Teachers must not only lead their students’ learning, but they demonstrate skills important to leaders across all sectors: they remain calm under pressure, interact with people of all backgrounds, and truly want to improve the lives of those they lead. As the executive director of Teach For America Houston, I work with these leaders daily. Both in and out of the classroom, our network of leaders works every day to encourage the next generation. From our national CEO, Elisa Villanueva Beard, who lives here in Houston, to our alumni leaders, to our corps members in classrooms – virtual or otherwise – strong women at every level are serving as examples for children day in and day out.
In a profession dominated by women, it’s disheartening to see that the glass ceiling is still intact when it comes to leadership roles in education. Only 31% of district superintendents are women, and only 11% are women of color, according to a 2019 report from Chiefs for Change. But here in Houston, four of the six partners TFA works with in our area are led by women of color. As a Latina, a mom, a former educator, and as Executive Director of TFA Houston, I celebrate women leading in education in Houston, and in turn, leading the next generation of Teach For America changemakers.
KIPP Texas Public Schools CEO Sehba Ali is one of the women featured. Click here to read the full story.