Erika Beltran grew up in a Texas community where she notes, “the schools weren’t great and the expectations, quite frankly, were pretty low.” She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, a first-generation college graduate, and a former kindergarten and 4th grade teacher who has dedicated her entire career to ensuring the success of all children. Erika now serves as an elected member of the State Board of Education in her home state.
“If you would have asked me five years ago or ten years ago if I would ever run for office, I would have said no. I think there are a lot of barriers that I had in my head built up that I was like, ‘Oh, this is too hard. Why would someone support me? Why would someone give me money?’
But I had a lot of support along the way and I know what it's like to grow up in a community where there are clear inequities in education. I know what it's like to be a classroom teacher. The more I put those pieces together, the more it made sense, and the more I started seeing myself as potentially someone who could lead and in elected office.”
Fellow teacher Camille Coleman explains, “Erica's background gives her an intimacy with the problem with educational inequity. She brings a voice to the Board that if she weren't there, would not be represented at all.”
The Candidate Ready Development team at Leadership for Educational Equity (LEE) works with LEE members like Erika to provide coaching through an individualized curriculum of competencies to get them ready to become powerful elected leaders.
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