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Seeking Answers, Striving for Excellence
Pia Escudero traces her commitment to professional excellence working in the second largest school district in the nation to her identity as an immigrant from Chile. When Pia was 9, her father, a professor of medicine at the University of Chile in Santiago, brought the family to Southern California to escape political unrest and provide a future with more opportunities.
Pia’s family faced trauma and acculturation challenges, but never lost sight of the most important gift of all: education. Pia grew up surrounded by adult helpers—counselors, teachers, and others—who supported her individual, educational, and professional endeavors through times of struggle. Learning how to navigate systems and seek answers were critical skills that serve her well today as an advocate for health and wellness at LAUSD. “My calling is to advocate and be an ally to students, along with building cadres of professionals and communities to do the same,” says Pia, adding, “Adults can open doors for students they may have never dreamed of entering.”
Following her father’s example, Pia strives to create an inclusive and healthy future for the children in her life. That starts with dismantling barriers that may exist because of institutionalized biases based on zip code, race, gender, or any other system that has been established. Pia inspires her staff and all adults to be protective, welcoming, affirming, and caring so that students can obtain their highest aspirations and contribute to sustainable and resilient communities.