Sitting down in a commercial studio in Denver with the new President of Student Achievement Partners, I was immediately taken by her story.
“My name is Joy Delizo-Osborne and what I love most about education is being able to have a tangible impact on students’ lives across the country.”
That brief synopsis Delizo-Osborne shared with me about ‘her why’ was quickly followed up by her story of how education provided that comforting, familiar place for her starting in childhood.
Delizo-Osborne grew up in South Florida in a tight-knit family that valued education so much so that her parents decided to send her to schools outside of her neighborhood that were stronger. “My parents had a really clear sense of what they wanted for us kids in terms of education,” Delizo-Osborne said. “They knew education provides an opportunity to shift our eventual outcomes and life experience.”
Starting in first grade, she was in a gifted and talented program, tackling harder curriculum that other 6-year-olds, even taking Mandarin. “The classroom has always been a place I feel very comfortable, so finding the right classroom was never the problem,’ Delizo-Osborne said. “It was all the stuff around the learning that became socially really difficult as I got older and recognized. “Driving 25 minutes to and from school or getting invited to parties and they’re very difficult to get to or feeling like people didn’t want to come to where I lived. Those were the kinds of moments where the dissonance came.”
Delizo-Osborne understands the trade-offs her parents made for her, and her future. But now as an adult, her purpose is to make sure other students and families don’t have to make those choices to get a strong education and bright future.
Because of her affinity to learning, Delizo-Osborne knew early on that she wanted to be a teacher. After teaching in classroom on both coasts, she moved on to Student Achievement Partners, and then was named the new President in December of 2022 (this video project was produced to commemorate her first year as SAP’s leader). Her focus and that of SAP is to engage every single student.. first, by recognizing a student’s background and strengths.
“The goal of Student Achiement Partners is for every student in K-12 classrooms in this country to have access to joyful, asset-based, high quality instruction every day,” Delizo-Osborne said. She has a team of 30 former educators who live in communities across the country.
“Our team at Student Achievement Partners is made up of former classroom educators and district leaders and some of us have worked at assessment companies,” Delizo-Osborne said. “We know the content, the best practices and the research into learning but we also know what it means to live the experience that so many of our teachers live every day. And we say, ‘you know, these are ways that you can optimize the good work you’re already doing to make it great, to make it better.'”
Student Achievement Partners works with the educators who write curriculum. And then, SAP creates tools for implementing the curriculum for the teachers, the principals and district officials. SAP’s goal is to make valuable connections in all aspects of education in order to move students in the right direction.
“I really believe education is a life changing endeavor,” Delizo-Osborne said. “I just fundamentally believe that having access to a high quality education changes one’s life. Not even necessarily in the career choice you make or the salary you earn, but just in your actual being …your sense of self, your ability to deeply understand yourself and your goals. Education, at its best, gives each of us the opportunity to become ourselves. And I love that the work we do at SAP has expanded that focus on education. I believe that to focus on standards alone is to miss so much of the beauty of what is able to happen in classrooms for teachers and for students. Our democracy depends on the quality of the education we provide. We want informed citizens, we want critical thinkers, and we make that possible every day in classrooms across this nation.”