This month, we sat down with Nisha Vasavada, founder and new co-School Leader for KIPP Pueblo Unido, to share her passion and vision for this new adventure for both her and our KIPPsters! Nisha will be leading KIPP Pueblo Unido's upper school, with 6th grade set to begin in August 2020. Tessa Mizokami, will continue to shine as co-School Leader for KIPP Pueblo Unido's lower school.
A word about our new school leader:
KIPP Pueblo Unido is founded and co-led by Nisha Vasavada. Nisha is a daughter of Indian immigrants who deeply valued education and worked hard to ensure she had access to excellent educational opportunities growing up. She graduated from Stanford University double majoring in Economics and Political Science. Upon graduating from Stanford she went into financial consulting, which made her realize her desire to do work that had a more positive impact on others. She was drawn to education because her grandfather started a network of schools serving villages across India, and she was inspired by his career and impact. She felt it was unjust that so many students did not have access to the same educational opportunities she did just because of their zip code. These experiences, paired with her desire to make social change, led her to education. She was a teacher and leader in New York for 7 years, and then joined KIPP SoCal because of the balance of high expectations, character education, and sense of community.
What does it mean for you to lead a new KIPP SoCal school?
- Team & Family Time: Our students start almost every morning with 25 minutes in homerooms where they engage in journaling, community teambuilders, and social-emotional learning lessons. We invest in a Social Emotional Learning curriculum because we believe it is equally important to teach these important life skills and habits, as it is academic skills.
- Weekly Community Circle: every week our students engage in community circles where they do a meditative exercise, check in on their emotions, and talk about relevant topics that are impacting their lives (like bullying, social media, peer pressure). This helps our students process challenges with one another, and also to build trust, respect and understanding with one another.
- Enrichment: In the afternoons our students will be able to partake in different enrichments or clubs based on their interests--such as dance or team sports or coding! Of course, the number of options we offer will increase as our school grows, but when fully grown we hope to create a program where students can explore their interests and find something they love doing.