Meet Carola: Leading a Bezos Academy Preschool

Carola is a Head of School (HOS) at our Houston – Denver Harbor preschool. She is a long-time educator passionate about teaching little learners and thrives on building and innovating as she goes. Her role requires a mix of teaching, leadership, knowledge of child development, exceptional communication skills, and experience working with people from diverse communities. Read more as Carola explains the highlights, challenges, and unique aspects of being a HOS at Bezos Academy.

What inspired you to pursue education?
I worked as a psychologist in Caracas, Venezuela, and was invited to teach a high school psychology class. When I left the classroom on the first day, I was transformed! Imparting knowledge, seeing the students become excited about learning, and knowing that I could have potentially inspired and impacted a child’s life just in that one day was an incredible feeling. It has been over 20 years since that day. I went back to college, became a teacher, and have never looked back.

What did you do before starting your role at Bezos Academy?
Prior to working at Bezos Academy, I was the director of a preK-12 grade American international school in Colombia.

How did you hear about your role at Bezos Academy, and what appealed to you?
About five years ago, I heard about Jeff Bezos’ announcement to start Bezos Academy. I was living in Colombia then and was surprised and impressed that he decided to invest in education. I did not follow the story but occasionally wondered if it had taken flight. After my family and I moved to the US, I heard about Bezos Academy on the news. It sparked my curiosity, so I researched more. I was mesmerized when I visited the website, read the organization’s mission, and reviewed the Leadership Principles.

Describe what you do in a day.
I open the school, and that is an incredible feeling. The hallways are quiet, and it is a new day filled with hope and opportunities. In a short time, I know there will be children’s voices and lots of activity. I start in the kitchen, making sure we have everything in order. I ensure the campus is ready to receive children, complete some tasks in the classroom environments, and then work alongside the teacher who help prepare the campus. Once students arrive, I greet every child as they come to school. During the day, I’m involved in many aspects of the school, including holding meetings, helping in the kitchen, observing classrooms, covering for staff, ensuring the facilities are working in order, visiting my community partner, contacting families, and basically, attend to anything and everything that may come up! There is never a dull day!

What is your favorite part of the day?
The highlight of the day is when the children arrive. The arrival symbolizes the potential to impact the child that day, bringing immeasurable opportunities for each. I get to help them out of the car and hold their hands as we walk in. It is truly a magical moment!

What do you love about your job?
The children – the joy of sharing the space with them, the honor to be a part of their lives, the opportunity to be a positive influence for them, the challenge to meet their needs, and the privilege to learn from them. I also enjoy the versatility of the role and the fact that I never know what may happen on a given day. I like challenges!

What makes leading at a Bezos Academy unique from your prior school leadership experiences?
It has been different because we are a start-up with systems and processes that do not exist. While I have worked leading other “young” schools, this has been exhilarating! It went from seeing the campus on a blueprint to watching it be built and then opening doors to families and children. We continue to build, create, and innovate daily, which requires lots of creative thinking and problem-solving.

What does Child First, Always mean to you?
Child First, Always is the first lens through which every decision is made. I have always envisioned our organizational chart as a bullseye with the child in the center. The teachers are right next to the child in the second circle, then the Mentor Montessori Teacher, and then me! It is a real honor to be the ones that are closest to the child. Each time the team makes a decision, we ask how that will impact the children. Why is there a need for a decision? How will the decision affect the children? It brings everything back to the most foundational aspect of our business: the child. 

Interested in joining Bezos Academy? Apply now on our Open Roles page.