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Teach For America’s CEO Chats with EdChats

Elisa Villanueva Beard joins the podcast to talk about redesigning education, centering student and teacher needs, and the impact of tutoring.

Air Date: April 12, 2023

Teach For America CEO Elisa Villanueva Beard (Phoenix ’98) recently joined the EdChats podcast for a conversation about how TFA is advancing equitable education and why it’s necessary to reinvent America’s outmoded education system. Like other industries that have transformed to ensure their relevance in an ever-changing world, she says education must also modernize the teaching role to create a system that is student-centered, focuses on equity and ensures all children can thrive. The profession must also be responsive to what teachers need to create a career that’s fulfilling and offers longevity.

“The people work and the system doesn’t. The teaching profession—it’s out of step with the wants and needs of the current and rising generation of young people…” she says. “Teaching is among the greatest acts of leadership. Teachers shape our country’s future, but too often they’re just expected to work without autonomy, without flexibility, without the relevant professional development, or opportunities for recognition that they deserve.” 

Villanueva Beard also describes how TFA’s new IGNITE tutoring program is accelerating learning and fostering student engagement, which are critical goals given the dire effects of pandemic-related disrupted learning. Learn what research is driving priorities for TFA as the organization prepares to meet its ambitious 2030 goal to double the number of students reaching key educational milestones in the communities TFA serves. 

About the Show

EdChats is written and produced by Education Reform Now Advocacy, a non-partisan, nonprofit organization that promotes increased resources and innovation reforms in education, particularly for students of color and from low-income families.

Featured in this Episode
Elisa Villanueva Beard, the CEO of Teach For America

Elisa Villanueva Beard, Chief Executive Officer, Teach For America

Elisa’s passion for educational equity comes from personal experience. She grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas and developed a deep commitment to Teach For America’s mission as a student at DePauw University, where she was one of just a few Mexican American students. Her journey with Teach For America started as a 1998 Phoenix corps member. Today, under her leadership, Teach For America corps members reach hundreds of thousands of students each year in nearly 2,000 schools across 37 states and the District of Columbia.

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