Elissa is the CEO of College Track, an Oakland-based nonprofit committed to supporting first-generation college students get into and finish college. She has had the opportunity to see the K-12 system at work in nine different cities throughout the country. She also helped start and grow College Track in Sacramento, Watts, and Colorado. Elissa also spent time as an educator in Washington DC and Watts.
Why public education?
My family is from Mexico and it was clear to me at a young age that the path to the “American Dream” was through education. I was the first in my family to go to college and first in a large network of 35 kids to finish college. The system worked for some in family and not for others. I have been on a quest to figure out what was different from my experience and what didn’t work for my peers.
I landed here because of the opportunity with College Track, but I love it here and intend on staying here forever. Oakland has incredible flexibility and diversity of thought, and I am excited when we put the two things together to develop solutions. We are not perfect but the consciousness that is in Oakland is incredible.
What are your vices?
I REALLY like ice cream. Coffee ice cream is on my list right now!
The members of our Leadership Council are Oakland natives, residents, parents, grandparents, former teachers, principals, and alumni of Oakland public schools. Our leaders have deep connections to Oakland and strong backgrounds in education. The Leadership Council supports and guides our work in the best interest of Oakland students.