How Great Mentors Led me to my Career as an Assistant Principal

I’m the oldest of three siblings and the first in my family to graduate from college. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, I would say the first mentors I ever had were my parents and they continue to be my biggest role models. They taught me that there’s nothing I can’t accomplish with hard work and a lot of heart. They’ve shown me that even through the hardest of times, there’s always a lesson to learn and a positive impact you can have on others. My parents have supported me unconditionally and they truly demonstrate what it means to help those around you.

While my parents laid an early foundation for my career, KIPP Heritage helped me grow into the educator I am today. I first came to KIPP Heritage in February 2016 when we were still at Stonegate Elementary, in the middle of our second year since being founded. One of my college friends Ms.Chacon was the Ops Associate at the time and she told me about an open position as a Paraeducator. That’s how I landed my first role at Heritage in the Special Education department. I directly supported a student one-on-one, which included collaborating with their teachers to provide them with access to the best learning and social resources.

I was a Paraeducator for a year and a half and then moved up to be the Education Specialist for three years. In this role, I was still supporting our students in Special Education but I worked as their case manager, in charge of writing Individualized Education Plans to support their goals. I also collaborated with ELA teachers and managed our Special Education team. Last year, I had the opportunity to step into an Administration Role as an ELA and Special Education Content Specialist. It wasn’t until this year that I transitioned into my role as Assistant Principal.

I’m grateful to have had so many great relationships that led me to the career I have today. Throughout my education, I had amazing professors that helped me find my purpose and develop my passions. Equally so, when I started at Heritage, I had two mentors that guided me through a new professional path. Our founding principal Amy Tran and founding Assistant Principal Melisa Ulloa played a huge role in my journey at KIPP Heritage. In reflecting back to how my parents were my first mentors in life, I realize that one of the most important things I learned from them was to always find a community who wants to see you grow.

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Isabel Olvera

Isabel Olvera

Isabel Olvera Pérez grew up in the small town of Windsor, CA. She moved to San Jose in 2009 to begin her educational journey at San José State University, where she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Spanish and also earned her Masters in Education with a concentration in Special Education. Isabel joined the KIPP Heritage team and family in February 2016 as a paraeducator, then became the Education Specialist, before finally joining the admin team at KIPP in 2020. Her love and passion for creating change and advocating for all students drives her work. Outside of school, Isabel loves to travel, exercise, watch movies and spend time with her family.

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