Education Advocacy Fellow, New Mexico

Education Advocacy Fellow 505 985 8484 seth.saavedra@50can.org @SethABQ

A New Mexican born and raised, Seth is a self-admitted green chile fanatic and spends most of his time with his family and exploring the vast outdoors of The Land of Enchantment. Fueled by his upbringing in public housing and public schools, Seth is unwavering in his pursuit of improving New Mexico’s often last-ranked public schools. Before becoming a middle school teacher in Bridgeport, Connecticut, he triple-majored in English, philosophy and economics at the University of New Mexico.

Most recently, Seth was the director of talent and advancement for NACA Inspired Schools Network (NISN), an organization dedicated to the creation of schools of excellence and relevance in Indigenous communities. Prior to that, Seth served as Teach For America’s vice president of school systems talent matching, where he coached and supported district leaders in their pursuit of cabinet-level school systems opportunities.

Prior to this role, Seth led work on the Teach For America – Bay Area teacher support team before heading up national recruitment efforts, leading to his fascination with talent and human capital, leadership development and the intersection of education and technology.

I aspire to be like so many people I know. Here’s why:

I aspire to be like anyone who is fighting for the little guy, the underdog, the person or community who was never supposed to make it. I’m driven by a deep sense of fairness and equitable opportunity, which is informed by my personal experience and an understanding of the deeply biased historic, economic and systemic forces our education systems were built upon and continue to reinforce.

Why I love my job:

I can’t imagine doing anything else. As I left college, I knew my calling was to work in education in order to transform my many frustrations into a force for good. As I’ve moved through my career I’ve also have the privilege to attain a global view of the challenges collectively, both the aspects which are universal and those which are unique to particular communities. We are engaged in the most important and complex work our country faces and I’m humbled to be a part of the conversation.

My connection to public schools:

I’ve attended only public schools throughout my life, from elementary to university, experiencing both the highs and lows we find all too often within public education.

Despite the many frustrations I’ve experienced firsthand, I feel great optimism that education remains an essential—though neglected—pillar of our democracy.

What I’m bad at:

I’m terrible at slowing down and taking time to reflect. My first instincts are nearly always oriented towards taking action. I can be impatient and demanding, which are qualities I’m always, already working on. I try to make time every morning to silently reflect and find gratitude for things both large and small, which is also a continual work in progress.

The image that represents why I work at 50CAN:

I am centered on my family and home state of New Mexico. Everything I encounter, whether physical or intellectual, inevitably filters through my sense of home and belonging. My aspirations for educational justice for all are inextricably tied to my experiences growing up in Albuquerque and our deep sense of history and culture.

Image source: Nicolas Raymond, bit.ly/2eOrnsu (cc)