Elisa Del Valle Cardona, a native of Brooklyn, NY, has lived in Connecticut for over a decade. Prior to joining Walker’s in fall 2016, she worked as the director of student activities and leadership development/new student orientation at Wesleyan University. While at Wesleyan, Elisa served on the Presidential Task Force for Equity and Inclusion and was an active voice on issues of Equity and Inclusion amongst her student affairs professionals. Elisa’s deep-rooted interest in women’s education is what brings her to Walker’s. Elisa attended an all-girls high school in New York City before attending Smith College in Northampton, MA where she majored in Government and minored in Spanish. While working at Mount Holyoke College, Elisa attended graduate school at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Justice Education. Elisa is an active Commissioner of the CAIS Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools, an educators network focused on diversity, as well as training and resources for diversity practitioners at CAIS member schools.
What was it about The Ethel Walker School that made you want to work here?
The students at Ethel Walker are the main reason I chose to work here. They are thoughtful and strong leaders who are driven by their own definitions of success and sisterhood.
Who is your biggest female role model? Why?
My biggest woman role model is my mom. She was a teenage parent who against many odds pushed me to be the best version of myself and everyday I live attempting to give that same gift to the young people I work with.
What was your favorite subject when you were in middle or high school? Why?
Math was my favorite subject because it made sense to me and I had really wonderful math teachers.
Why did you want to go into teaching?
I see teaching as an opportunity to foster critical thinking in young people. Teaching moves young people beyond what they initially see and understand into critical thought. It pushes a deep desire for learners to formulate their own thoughts and feelings with information as a tool in that analysis.
What is your favorite part about the subject you teach?
I love history. It is such an important subject to understand the ways in which we as a people have arrived where we are today. It also hold lots of context once you have the understanding to building a better future because you are informed. It also builds perspective and global awareness.
What is your favorite Walker’s tradition?
I love Senior Speeches. They are such a powerful moment of confidence and growth in our students. I am always in awe of the beauty of the words our seniors share with the community.
If you were to give advice to an incoming Walker’s student, what would it be?
Be open to being uncomfortable and trying things that you may not have ever thought you would like. You can’t grow if you stay comfortable all the time.
What is your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I enjoy hiking, eating delicious food and laughing with friends.
What is the most rewarding part about working at Walker’s?
The community at Ethel Walker is one that I am immensely grateful for. The faculty and staff can center students and student wholeness in a way that makes real space for young people to lead in their learning and personal growth.