Victor De La Paz
The Broad Residency Class of 2008-2010
Chief Financial Officer, Achievement First Public Charter Schools
We all know the statistics of poor, immigrant and single-parent households. I am one of the lucky ones, so I feel a sense of responsibility to make sure more students who grew up like me can have the opportunities I’ve been able to take advantage of.
Victor De La Paz was a rising star in financial services. He began his career at JP Morgan Chase and, after business school, worked in mergers and acquisitions at The Hartford and Aetna, Inc. Eventually, he became a senior manager at Capital One.
Success in the corporate world was his for the taking. But his upbringing in a single-parent, blue-collar home fueled a desire to make his life’s work one that could build a bridge between those two worlds — one of struggle and one of opportunity — for other kids growing up like he did.
"What was missing for me was the feeling that I was helping people who went through similar experiences as I did. The clients I served were already wealthy and established; they didn't need my help," says De La Paz. “As a first-generation immigrant and proud product of public schools, I know firsthand how powerful education can be in lifting families out of poverty and creating community leaders.”
After joining The Broad Residency in 2008, De La Paz served as special assistant to the superintendent of Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut and led the development of the district’s first-ever strategic plan. “When only 29 percent of the high school freshmen are graduating—as was the case in 2006—there is very little time to eradicate that inequity,” he says.
He also implemented School Governance Councils at 28 schools across the district — community partnerships that took responsibility and were held accountable for the school’s success. That effort to engage and empower parents and community members caught the eye of state legislators, becoming a model for the development of a similar effort across Connecticut. In 2010, he was named Hartford's deputy chief financial officer and rose to the role of chief operating officer a year later.
“After academics, school districts spend most of their money on operations. So understanding the logistics and how much you can cut through procurement and purchasing red tape is key,” he says. “I have to ensure that our funding formula retains its central goal of bringing equity across all of our classrooms for all of our students.”
In the role of chief financial officer — with Baltimore City Schools, New Haven Public Schools and now with Achievement First Public Charter Schools — he applies the knowledge he gained about per-pupil funding and district management on a much bigger scale. De La Paz approaches his work through the lens of data transparency, helping build public trust and confidence and doing his part to fight for equity for every student.
The Broad Residency
Class of 2008-2010
Residency Role: Resident operating officer, Office of the Superintendent, Hartford Public Schools, Connecticut
M.B.A., Darden School of Business, University of Virginia
B.A., history and political science, Rutgers University