In the Pionero Scholars Program, local students commit to educating the communities that raised them.
Bridging the Gap
For immigrant, refugee and first-generation K-12 students, it's unusual to learn from teachers who have a first-hand understanding of their cultural backgrounds and unique challenges. Lipscomb University's College of Education is trying to change that norm—and they're starting right here in Nashville.
By recruiting future educators from diverse Nashville neighborhoods, the college's Pionero Scholars Program has created a pipeline of local students who return to work in Metro Nashville Public Schools—giving them the chance to create meaningful change in the same school systems where they grew up. The Pionero program provides professional development and networking, mentorship, scholarships of up to $10,000 a year, and a community of diverse, like-minded classmates.
The idea was to grow our own. We know there is a teacher shortage, and the answer to that in Nashville is found in the halls of the Nashville schools. — Laura Delgado, Pionero Scholars Program Director
Pioneros of 2021
This spring marks the second cohort of Pionero Scholars to graduate from Lipscomb, and this year, all six graduates have secured jobs in Metro Nashville Public Schools. Laura Delgado, Pionero Scholars program director in the College of Education, is confident that these students are ready to make a difference in Nashville and in the world around them.
"They tell me they couldn’t have done this without me, but I merely say that I am a mirror reflecting back to them the competence, intelligence, ferocity and determination that already existed inside them,” she says. “They are not future leaders…. they are leaders now. They have truly been trailblazers. I cannot wait for them to experience the joy of students who look up to see and see them as role models."