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Leave Your Mark

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." 

Edith Romero

Edith Romero

Meet Edith Romero, who wants to encourage students to become leaders just like others encouraged her.

“I chose to pursue a career in education to serve the community by encouraging students to become the leaders of tomorrow, and that they will fuel many more leaders in the future,” says Romero, who will teach seventh grade Language Arts at Apollo Middle School this fall.

“My experience at Lipscomb involved a lot of growing closer to God, and learning how to serve others daily,” she continues. “I’ve learned a lot about how we serve our students, and how we can inspire them to reach amazing feats for their community.”

Kathy Le

Kathy Le

Kathy Le was inspired by the teachers who invested in her life.

“I have always looked up to my teachers growing up. My teachers made school exciting and fun and I was always eager to learn,” explains Le. “My teachers always made me feel so welcomed and cared for, they were people I looked up to and wanted to be when I grew up. Now it's my turn to be the role model that my teachers were to me to other children. I want children to feel welcomed, loved, and cared for in school. I want to express my joy for learning and teaching.”

This marks a significant milestone for Le and her family. “This is a big accomplishment for not only me, but for my parents as well,” she says. “As a first-generation college student, this is something my parents and I have been dreaming about since the day I was born.”

As a first-generation college student, this is something my parents and I have been dreaming about since the day I was born. — Kathy Le, '21

The Pionero Scholars Program is a natural expression of who Lipscomb is: a place that takes students' potential and converts it into possibility.

Interested in joining our thriving community?

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