Senior director, program
Eleisha Nelson-Reed was born for this work. As a third-generation educator, teaching is in her genes. Her late grandfather was an upper elementary school for nearly 40 years, and her mother went back to school to become a teacher when Eleisha was only 2 years old. She remembers sitting through her mother’s elementary education classes as a toddler, being her mother’s guinea pig and first student, and watching with pride as her mom finished her degree.
Coming from a family of teachers, Eleisha witnessed the level of pride, professionalism, and high esteem that her mom, aunts, and grandfather held for the teaching profession. From seeing them, she knew the job of a teacher was more than just A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s – it was about developing people to reach their fullest potential.
Eleisha’s first teaching assignment was as a 6th grade literacy teacher at Wilson Intermediate School in Houston, Texas. She recounts fondly her grandfather’s excitement around her choice to follow in his footsteps. Early on, he lesson planned with her and taught her how to use student data to guide instruction and intervention, even before any formal online data analysis system existed. It was this foundation that helped Eleisha understand that teaching was a science. This idea was reinforced as Eleisha found a true professional learning community at Wilson Intermediate, an environment that fostered the growth and development of every teacher, whether a rookie or 30-year veteran, through virtuous cycles of feedback and mentoring. It was here that she felt she developed precision in articulating learning outcomes and using this lens to guide the design of rigorous, engaging, and transferable learning experiences.
After many years in the classroom, Eleisha would then go on to hold a variety of district-level central office roles. She played a key role in a setting forth a vision for elementary literacy instruction for her district’s 54 elementary schools and worked in teacher and leader training and development. Prior to joining the Broad Center, she was a founding director of a team tasked developing and implementing a portfolio of enrichment and supplemental programming. Currently, Eleisha serves as director of The Broad Residency, where she oversees all aspects of programming, training, and development for the Residency, including instructional sessions, executive coaching, Resident supports, and supervisor relationships.
When people ask Eleisha why did she become a teacher, she responds “Why wouldn’t I teach?” She goes on to say that she is who she is today because of the many smart, talented educators in her life – from childhood and through adulthood. She says, “I want to pour into the lives of others, just as so many have done for me. Although I no longer have a traditional classroom, I am proudly and unapologetically still a teacher at heart. This is my calling. This is where I am supposed to be.”
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice I would give to my younger self would be to follow your heart and get in touch with what makes you happy rather than what makes others happy.
What project/s and/or results are you most proud of from your work at TBC?
The three projects I am most proud of from my work at TBC are securing accreditation for the Residency by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, increasing the rigor and fidelity of our assessment systems and creating new and innovative structures for experience-based learning for our Residents.
What others say about Eleisha:
“She organized a dinner after our team retreat and a Thanksgiving potluck so that we could celebrate and share time together. These may seem like small acts, but they make a huge difference in making this a fun place where we feel like we’re able to work with our friends.”
“Eleisha worked with Resident supervisors to develop and tailor professional development to their specific needs. These efforts will not only help them expand and strengthen their networks, they have enhanced the Resident supervisor experience and created a true partnership in talent development.”
Articles by Eleisha
Why I love The Broad Residency session…, The Broad Center Blog, August 9, 2018
What was it like to be at the start of this journey? Hear from Eleisha Nelson-Reed about why she loves TBR session. Read more.