As an organization deeply committed to cultivating the next generation of education leaders, we’re always excited to discover our Teaching Fellow alumni out in the world championing education equity.

Last month, Breakthrough Collaborative participated in the Coalition to Reimagine the Teaching Role 2024 National Convening, where we connected  with Edwin Morales, a 2018 Breakthrough Houston Teaching Fellow. Edwin now plays a pivotal role at Education Resource Strategies (ERS), a nonprofit consulting firm dedicated to supporting school districts nationwide through transformative changes in resources, structures, and practices. Similar to Breakthrough, their mission is to ensure that all students have access to an education where they can learn and truly thrive.

During our conversation with Edwin, we discussed their career journey and explored how Breakthrough played a key role in guiding them to their current path.

“When I was in high school and college, I had such a finite view of what it meant to be involved in the education space.”

Edwin joined Breakthrough Houston as a rising senior studying sociology and international studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. “It was such a great opportunity to take all the learning I’d done and actually ask myself, ‘Is this the right field? Role? Do I want to continue down this path for myself?’” Being a Teaching Fellow was also the first time Edwin left their college area, which became a pivotal and influential step toward their personal growth.

Edwin affectionately remembers their time at Breakthrough, stating “I think very fondly about the opportunity that I had to grow.” In particular, they reminisced about teaching a literature class on The Other Wes Moore, which explores the parallel lives of two individuals with the same name, delving into the factors that led one to success while the other ended up incarcerated. Edwin’s Socratic seminars with students exploring the text provided a valuable perspective on the rigors of being a top scholar and the influence of power and privilege.

In Edwin’s opinion, teaching at Breakthrough Houston was inspiring because, “It was such a great way to connect the theoretical aspects I learned in school and actually go out into the field and practice them.” After gaining practical experience, Edwin was determined to leverage their experience and make a substantial impact.

“One of the goals after my Breakthrough fellowship was connected to how I could take all this wonderful experience and think about system-level change.”

This led Edwin to work for the Achievement Network for two years, initially focusing on the EdTech aspect, before transitioning to their current role at ERS. Edwin’s responsibilities are to connect with a spectrum of leadership networks, including chief financial officers and chief academic officers, to cultivate meaningful collaboration within school districts. They explain, “You can’t really make change happen in silos. So, part of it is really inspiring [leadership] to understand that they have the power to see change in their districts.” 

Edwin and ERS share a common goal: to prioritize students in educational change. This is why Edwin is grateful for the opportunity to contribute their expertise to ERS’s collaboration with partners at The Coalition to Reimagine the Teaching Role. They consider their proudest achievement to be their involvement in an organization that is pivotal in helping people rethink the way they are using resources in their districts.

As Edwin reflects on the goals they set at the end of their Teaching Fellowship, they have seen those aspirations to create systems-level change come to fruition. Kudos Edwin! We look forward to following your journey and all that you will accomplish.