Rolando Fernando began his career at StrivePartnership as an Education Pioneer and, in addition to his passion for the work, what’s kept him at the organization is the “the kindred spirits… the genuine nature of the people and the kind of passion they bring to our work.”
“I always think of how things are connected; I look at the world at the conceptual level, how it works,” said Fernando, who was a university professor for more than 20 years and whose background is in data analytics. He now serves as the Senior Manager of Research and Evaluation with StrivePartnership. “I find at StrivePartnership, we have opportunities to innovate and push for defining the concept of, for example, a reading advocate or a growth mindset. At the same time, it’s part of our work to go into the field and validate and operationalize those concepts.”
For Fernando, it’s not only about the capacity to impact the lives of students and families in Cincinnati, but also how the work of StrivePartnership can be used at the national level to address questions of equity and the opportunity gap.
“As we get older, the personal markers of success and achievement, accomplishment, place less and less,” said Fernando. “You want a larger sense: a legacy or a greater sense of connectedness.”
Even though he seems to relish the perspective his experiences have given him, it’s his 20-year-old self that Fernando looks to for guidance.
“My litmus test for how I am doing in my life is, if I met my 20-year-old self, would he still like me? That’s my gut check, every time I am in doubt about myself,” said Fernando. “My 20-year-old self is uncompromised. He had the capacity to dream and the courage to pursue those dreams.”