Karla De La Fuente ’22

KIPP Texas Public Schools, Houston, TX

KIPP Texas Public Schools is an expanding network of tuition-free, public charter schools focused on educating early childhood, elementary, middle, and high school students. By committing to equity in education, KIPP Texas aims to foster academically excellent schools that prepare students with the necessary skills to lead fulfilling lives. Due to my growing interest in educational equity and K-12 education, I decided to intern with the Talent Development Team at KIPP Texas. Although I held some initial concerns about completing the assigned tasks in a remote setting, I rapidly became accustomed to the virtual working environment. In addition to meeting weekly with the Director of Talent Development to discuss upcoming assignments, I attended weekly meetings alongside members of the team to review the progress of other projects.

At the start of my internship, I was introduced to the newly established Principal in Residence (PIR) program and the manner in which I was expected to support the development of this state-wide pathway to leadership. The KIPP Texas PIR program is a one- or two-year, regionally operated residency to prepare aspiring principals in the adaptive, technical, and managerial skills to lead a KIPP school. Those in the program are placed in schools with Mentor School Leaders to actively develop the leadership skills and competencies outlined in resources such as the Assessment Toolkit and Development Roadmap. Through one-on-one coaching and formal professional development, aspiring school leaders utilize the Assessment Toolkit and Development Roadmap to monitor their growth and performance goals.

During my internship at KIPP Texas, I prioritized the formatting and organization of professional development resources such as the Assessment Toolkit, Development Roadmap, and Assessment Workbook. To effectively assess the leadership skills and competencies of aspiring school leaders, Mentor School Leaders require constant access to these professional development resources. As a result, all formatting adjustments were included to act in alignment with the goal of strengthening the leadership pipeline and developing a transparent pathway to school leadership. Although responding to the arising needs of the Talent Development Team became challenging at times, I acquired a vast level of familiarity with these documents that allowed me to assist the team during virtual professional development meetings. In addition to the codification of these leadership resources, I was granted the opportunity to provide feedback for the adjustment of leadership skills and competencies due to the virtual reopening of KIPP Texas Public Schools.

I would like to express my gratitude to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration, as well as Mr. Jeffrey Hines ’77 for supporting my internship at KIPP Texas Public Schools. Without their kindness and generosity, this enriching experience would not have been possible. I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity to immerse myself in a working environment that encourages passion for educational equity. This internship has certainly affirmed 
my desire to deepen my understanding of public education in the United States, especially in economically 
disadvantaged communities.