Elisa Del Valle is a transformational educator and deep believer of young people. She was raised in East New York, Brooklyn and molded by resilient ancestors: strong women who, despite hardship, yielded joy, and her own children who remind her each day that she is here to be taught by them. It is from these wisdom guides that she has learned the most about unconditional love and the power of sisterhood.
Elisa’s relationship to justice work is an embodied practice rooted in her own liberation and the liberation of others. She defines her work not by what she is against, but by what she is for and the world she wants to be part of. She moves in the world as a complex human with the understanding that she became this way because she was simultaneously harmed and loved by family and strangers alike. She models vulnerability, radical love, transparency, curiosity, and accountability for the young people she works with. They are her greatest motivator for this work and they are who keep her spirit light.
At Walker’s Elisa serves as the Assistant Head for Student Life and Director of Social Justice and Inclusion. Prior to her arrival at Walker’s in 2016, she spent 12 years working in higher education in residential life, student activities, leadership development, and new student orientation at Mount Holyoke College and Wesleyan University. While at Mount Holyoke, Elisa utilized her passion and graduate degree in Social Justice Education to design a more inclusive curriculum for the residential student experience. At Wesleyan, she pursued her passion for justice work 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 attended an all-girls high school in New York City before attending Smith College in Northampton, MA. As a first-generation college student, she majored in Government and minored in Spanish. While working full-time at Mount Holyoke College, Elisa also attended graduate school full-time at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she graduated with a Master’s in Social Justice Education.
Elisa is currently the Chair of the Commission on Diversity in Independent Schools (CODIS) through Connecticut’s Association of Independent Schools (CAIS).
The students at Walker’s 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.
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.
Math was my favorite subject because it made sense to me and I had really wonderful math teachers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I enjoy hiking, eating delicious food and laughing with friends.
The community at Walker’s 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.