By Karen Antonacci
Today, Carlos Pacheco is the CEO of Boulder-based Premier Members Federal Credit Union and Board Chair of Impact on Education, but he still remembers the teachers who impacted him the most when he was a student in Northern California.
“There was Mr. Carney, back in 7th and 8th grade when you had one teacher for most of your classes. He was an ex-Marine and he was awesome. He joked around when it was appropriate but he always made sure you were learning and drove you to be better,” Carlos remembered.
Carlos’s parents immigrated from Lima, Peru and sacrificed and saved in order to send their six kids to Catholic schools in California. For Carlos, the experience solidified an appreciation of teachers who can lay a solid educational foundation for students.
Now, as a parent of two teenage daughters in the public school system, Carlos said he sees great teachers having even more of an impact as they had to provide remote instruction and stability through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I distinctly remember the teachers that made an impact on me and I see my daughters experiencing the same thing. Teachers are working tirelessly and more than anyone ever expected of them in the last year. If you have a good teacher, you will remember that for the rest of your life,” Carlos said.
What motivates him to volunteer
IOE’s mission to support students in Boulder Valley public schools with resources to address critical needs and opportunity gaps resonates with Carlos. He said it’s vital to provide every student with the right tools so they can make the most of their education. When COVID-19 restrictions forced many students to learn online for the first time, he was impressed by IOE’s push to make sure BVSD students had what they needed to learn.
“We hope to be that connective tissue between what the public institutions are doing and what the private families are able to do and provide that connection, whether it’s technology, mentoring, supplies,” Carlos said. “It’s great seeing our ability to get out in the community and deliver school starter packs. You have to have the right tools to be able to get the most out of education like food or internet connection and we have the opportunity to close those gaps.”
Committed to equity
Carlos compared education to a race and IOE’s work to making sure every student is in place on their starting blocks, and has their running shoes on.
“Everyone should be able to reach their educational attainment to the fullest extent, whatever that might mean,” he said “After high school I started junior college, but then I got a really good job and I didn’t go back and get my bachelor’s degree until later in life, but that foundation of K-12 was so important. We should eliminate those gaps and get students set up to explore their passions and pursue them in trade or business.”
Carlos also serves as a Board Director for the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau. Perhaps then it is no surprise that when Carlos thinks about what lies on the horizon for IOE, he thinks like a businessman looking to franchise a successful endeavor.
Although other school districts have similar organizations to Impact on Education, he would like to see the successful effort to connect public school students with the resources they need for education replicated across the country.