In January 2013, 18 of Teach For America’s Summer Institute leaders immersed themselves in EnseñaPerú’s training institute to learn about their unique approach to developing leadership and culture among the newest cohort of participants. The Teach For America staff members shadowed 61 new “PEPs”—Professionales de EnseñaPerú—who were taking part in the organization’s fourth summer institute.
“We’ve been asking ourselves some tough questions about the experience that we’re creating during the summer for our corps members and their kids,” shared Michael Aronson, then Teach For America’s Senior Vice President, Institutes, “and that led us to realize that we would benefit greatly and learn a lot by going to another Teach For All partner.”
Immediately, the visitors from Teach For America were struck by how deeply EnseñaPerú’s core values were embedded in their approach to institute.
“If they had never actually shared with us their values—the words of their values—by the end of the second day I think our group could have discerned exactly what those values were,” said Aronson.
The group was also inspired by EnseñaPerú’s conviction in and commitment to the idea that true leadership comes from within and that each of us can—and must—be a leader.
“PEPs here are really learning how to be leaders in the classroom, leaders in the community, and then leaders that can change a system,” reflected Laneisha Cobb, currently Teach For America’s Senior Vice President, Teacher Leadership Development. “And that to me has been really illuminating in terms of how we think about leadership.”
“At the end of the day,” concurred Aaronson, “when it comes to the things they care most about—their values— everybody is expected to lead.”