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Velia Soto

Velia began her career in education as a bilingual/dual immersion kindergarten teacher in Chicago Public Schools in schools on the southwest side of the city.  She acted as the founding kindergarten teacher at Erie Elementary Charter School on Chicago’s West Side before becoming assistant principal in 2008. In 2010, she became the principal of Erie and led the expansion into the middle school grades and the dual language program.  She also supported the construction and development of a new, state-of-the-art facility.   In 2016, Velia moved on to develop and coach emerging school leaders and sitting school leaders in Chicago, California, and Texas through the space of nonprofit leadership development organizations.  


Velia has served on numerous nonprofit boards that service underresourced communities in the areas of immigration services, health, and after school programming and has attended high quality leadership training from various institutions such as Harvard Graduate School of Education and Deloitte University. Velia holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; a master’s degree in Bilingual/Bicultural Education from DePaul University; and a master’s degree in Educational and Organizational Leadership from Roosevelt University in Chicago.


Velia believes in building relationships and trust with all stakeholders in order to be able to work towards transformational change; whether that’s a school or an organization.  She believes that people are at the heart of the work.  Through her experience in helping school leaders and executive directors prioritize, create goals, gain buy in, and execute a plan to accomplish goals, Velia can help leaders take their organizations from good to great.  


Velia comes from a family of immigrant parents who taught her the value of education and working hard.  As a first generation Mexican-American, she has dedicated her career to working in the best interest of students who are often underserved and lack opportunities to reach their potential.  Outside of her passion for education, she loves to read, travel and spend time with family and friends

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