A Leader ‘Anchored On Education’

Jessie Woolley-Wilson
Jessie Woolley-Wilson

One of Pacific Science Center’s greatest resources is our Board of Directors. These are some amazing people who bring their talents and expertise to help us carry out our mission of igniting curiosity and critical thinking which we see as essential to equity and justice for all. A great example is former Board Member Jessie Woolley-Wilson, president and CEO of DreamBox Learning. She is the child of a Haitian immigrant who chose to come to this country prior to civil rights legislation in 1956, a time when other countries were more appealing to people of color.

“I remember asking him when I was in fourth grade, ‘Why did you come here at a time before they even saw you as a man and didn’t treat you with respect? Why America?'” she said. “He said, ‘I knew that if I had my education along with some courage and the support of my family, that I could make a life for myself and my family.’ And it was anchored on education.”

Her career initially took her into banking in New York City, but it was her love of education that made her realize that banking was not for her. She found that talent is everywhere regardless of skin color or any other factor. What was missing, however, was equal opportunity. So she changed course and refocused on educational support rather than teaching.

“I’m not a teacher. I have the utmost respect for teachers but I don’t have the patience. So I knew I couldn’t be that, but I could support them.”

She got into test preparation, and then early learning with LeapFrog SchoolHouse. Currently, she’s focused on math at DreamBox Learning, a company that uses technology to help change the learning paradigm.

“I think technologies like DreamBox can democratize learning opportunity because it can scale personalized learning which is, I think, the most effective learning paradigm there is.”

As for her involvement with Pacific Science Center, it’s our focus on access for all that attracted her. There’s lots more to do, she asserts, especially when it comes to teaching everyone the important accomplishments and contributions made by women and people of color throughout the years. One way to do this, she explains, is to ensure that the stories of the accomplishments of women and people of color are told to all people because of their importance for all of us.

“We have to shine a light on those that are already doing it now and tout and celebrate the contributions of all kinds of people to this society that we all share.”

We encourage you to hear more from this very talented woman by listening to the podcast embedded below. Then, as we celebrate Black History Month in February and Women’s History Month in March, we invite you to join us to help further this important cause. It can be as simple as stopping by for a visit to our Tropical Butterfly House, taking in a movie or laser show, or becoming a member for an entire year of discovery. If you can’t do that, then follow the lead of this important community leader and become an advocate for this cause that will help us all.