Trustee Eva Pacheco » BIOGRAPHY


I barely spoke English when I decided to volunteer at my children’s school in 1991. In Mexico, I was an elementary and middle school teacher for 13 years in León, Guanajuato.  Leaving my career as a teacher behind was difficult, but we firmly believed being fluent in two languages would benefit our children in the future and provide them with more opportunities as they got older. I learned early on the school system here is not made to support the students like my son and daughter or families like ours, who were learning English and had limited resources. After settling into our new home, I enrolled my children at their new school in a bilingual program where I was assured they would receive the support they needed in Spanish. It wasn’t long before my daughter came home crying and vowing to never return because she did not understand what the teacher was saying. Confused, I went to visit her classroom and found it made up of limited English students and led by a monolingual English speaking teacher. I asked to volunteer in her classroom to make sure she was receiving the support she needed and within a few days I found myself helping many students like her. While volunteering at Madison Elementary School, a new principal abruptly decided to end the bilingual program without any consultation with staff or parents. My husband and I immediately began to organize parents, encouraging them to come together for our students in order to  access quality bilingual programs. We informed them of their parental rights and how they could be their own children’s advocates. By formally organizing and working together, we were able to re-establish the program, hiring bilingual teachers and forming the district's first bilingual advisory committee. 

These early experiences turned into a life-long career for me of advocating for quality bilingual education programs and the engagement of parents and families within the school communities. I invite you to read through EJE’s unique history: the parent- led re-establishment of a bilingual program at Madison led to the formation of Excellence and Justice in Education (EJE), an organization aiming to inform and empower families, address the barriers faced by low-income Latino students and promote bilingual education. After becoming the Executive Director of the EJE parent advocacy group (and later non- profit organization), it became very clear the only way to establish a structured quality dual- language program where parent and community voices mattered, was to create one ourselves. What started as a small grass-roots parent organization evolved into EJE Academies Charter School, the dual- language K-8th grade charter school you see today. Our journey has been far from easy; from petitioning the school district to approve our charter to finally opening as EJE Elementary Academy, a small kindergarten and first grade school made up of a few portable classrooms on a crowded corner of Chase Elementary School campus. We have grown to accommodate the opening of a middle school to continue serving students and their families until they reach the 8th grade. 

Although we have seen tremendous growth and change throughout our journey, the unwavering support we have received from parents, community members, teachers and community partners throughout San Diego County remains constant. Demonstrated through our beginnings as a  parent organization, valuing the significance of school, family and community partnerships is at the core of EJE Academies existence. It is because of the continued support we have received from our parents and local community that we have been able to create a unique space where students and their families feel important and appreciated. My goal is for EJE Academies to continue to offer services to generations of the same families, while still continuing to welcome new families onto our campus with open arms. In Spring of 2020, our first cohort of EJE Middle Academy graduates celebrated the first alumni graduating from a four- year university.  As this number continues to grow, I know we will have graduates of EJEA coming back to serve the community as teachers and counselors in the very near future.