I am the proud son of an immigrant who worked tirelessly to give his children access to an education that comes with the promise of “el sueño americano” (The American dream). My family background has largely shaped my passion for education, my eagerness to surpass expectations and my drive to empower others.
When my grandmother told me the story of her life, I was floored by the depth of her resilience. A few months after her birth, she had been sold to a family with food and a stillborn daughter. After her adopted family died when she was seven, she wandered over a hundred miles on her own in search of her birth family.
My path to Stanford University was paved in large part by Mrs. Sara St. John, my high school extended learning teacher and one of my most pivotal legacy leaders. I attended a public school in rural Iowa, and Mrs. St. John actively worked to make sure that my locality did not affect my academic opportunities.
My philanthropic purpose is to ensure all children in the United States have high-quality teachers. As a former educator, I witnessed firsthand the disparities between students with and without privilege in our country. Time and time again I saw that the kids who deserved the best teachers usually got the worst: instructors who were inexperienced and under-qualified. This unsettling reality is both an issue of supply and allocation of resources. Why don’t we have enough quality teachers? Why aren’t our quality teachers more fairly distributed?