Have you ever heard the term “Ed-Fi Evangelist”? That is what I secretly call myself and something I have been tempted to add to my email signature, though have been told that might be a little cheesy! In all seriousness, I do feel a sense of duty towards the concept and overall ecosystem.

In November 2009, I was working at the Texas Education Agency (TEA) as the Technical Architect of the agency’s SLDS (Statewide Longitudinal Data Systems) grant when one of my colleagues Geoff McElhanon received a call from Ian Chrisopher at MSDF. Ian was calling to share the issues and recommendations stemming from the TDCARSI document (Texas Data Collection, Analysis, and Reporting System Investigation, for those not familiar), which uncovered what our internal team had been already contemplating: “revolutionizing” accountability reporting to directly affect student outcomes. Back then, almost eight years ago, I never thought how much that call and those ideas would “revolutionize” me as a person.

A lot has evolved and contributed to the effort since then. As I sit here today writing this blog with growing excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Summit, it’s inspiring that so many of the Ed-Fi Community members exist, and therefore, share this goal and the continued effort that goes into these ideas. At last year’s Summit (after I took a brief hiatus from the “work” and the space), I was blown away by the number of participants and the vast amount of work being made in the space and the Ed-Fi Alliance.

It’s hard for me to not feel a sense of pride as a result of this growth, given how far the community has taken these efforts. I’m in awe of each member and contributor throughout the ecosystem who works tirelessly to incorporate and push the boundaries of this technology. Together, each one of these individuals plays a significant role to bring these efforts into the space with the shared goal of improving the overall classroom experience.

Nearly 22 years ago, I immigrated to the United States from Mexico. Compared to Mexico City, where I was born and raised, the United States allowed me to witness first-hand how education can transform not only the individual, but the community, culture and society they are a part of. An educated population is essential for the prosperity of a nation, as well as humanity as a whole.

After all these years, I can’t thank you, community members, enough for your contribution to the mission. It inspires me to continue the hard and challenging work that we still have ahead of us. Together, let’s continue to pursue this goal – the goal of positively impacting and affecting student outcomes. Our kids – and the kids of our kids – deserve the best possible educational environment to help them achieve their goals and dreams.

Silvia, “Ed-Fi Evangelist”