Paige del Rio

Participated in: Summer 2014

Major: Sociocultural Anthropology

Internship Title: Associate, Teacher Effectiveness Strategy at DC Public Schools Central Office

Current Position: Manager, Strategic Consulting at Leading Educators


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How has your experience with the Washington Program affected your career trajectory?

I am in the position I am today because of the opportunity afforded to me by participation in the UC Washington Program. For the duration of my summer with UCDC, I worked at the DC Public Schools Central Office, on a team responsible for designing, executing, and evaluating their Teacher Leadership Innovation (TLI) pilot for schools across DCPS. To implement the programming, they partnered with a non-profit called Leading Educators (LE). Through my time,I got to know the LE staff and was made aware of an open position on their DC fellowship team at the end of the summer and was able to seamlessly transition into that role directly following my UCDC experience; my summer at DCPS gave me the requisite experience and relationships to successfully transition into the workforce.

How have your career goals evolved since your participation in the Washington Program?

I entered the Washington Program knowing I was passion about and invested in improving outcomes for all students through education. That hasn't changed. However, what has changed is the way in which I plan to bring about that change. Coming in to a program run out of Washington, DC, I was thinking I would take the policy route and perhaps work in federal or state education. While working at the district office, however, I realized that the further I am from the school, the smaller the impact I would be able to have. I also realized that working to improve the practice of teachers could increase my sphere of influence on students by identifying a higher lever of change. I now no longer aspire to be a policymaker, but instead a designer and facilitator of adult learning that has am impact on the growth of teachers and, in turn, the growth of their students.

Describe what you are currently doing, and how your experiences in DC relate to your current position.

As previously mentioned, my internship through the Washington Program served as a nice onramp to my current work. As a result of my summer experience at DCPS, I was able to work in a program support role for the teacher leadership fellowship program operating out of the DC region for about 9 months. At that time, I was able to apply my experience to the challenge of providing program support to several districts across the country including DC, NYC, Memphis, and Detroit. And after just another quick 9 months, I was selected to be on a new team at Leading Educators charged with the assessment, planning, and preparation phases of partnering with new districts. So I now take all that I have learning from managing program around the country and translate it into the design, preparation, and implementation of new programs.

Do you have any advice for future Washington Program participants?

Approach your placement with an open mind and as an opportunity to connect with smart people who can teach you new things. Even if it doesn't feel like a perfect fit, it's still an opportunity to figure out what you're not looking for and to pick up transferable skills for the perfect position that is still out there. Always accept opportunities for new projects because it could get you a step closer to landing the dream job or being connected to someone who could be critical in identifying or landing that dream job. It's all about maintaining and embracing a growth mindset!