Why I'm #TeamEdstruments: Will, Business Development Manager
Fresh out of his first year of a joint MBA/Masters in Education program at Wharton, this Texan is leveraging his experience as a former teacher and EdTech manager to succeed in his new role.
Not many students split their childhood between Texas and London.
But Will Brito, who was born in Dallas, did exactly that after moving to England with his family at age 7. He attended international school in London for two years before returning to his birthplace for the rest of his K-12 education, and while his time across the pond may have been brief, his love for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club remains as strong as ever.
A graduate of an all-boys Catholic school, Will describes his independent-school experience as both interesting and influential, and though he gravitated towards history, it was a particularly memorable pre-calculus instructor who helped him understand the power of good teaching.
“Treating students with respect was really important perspective I took not only into my strategic [management] career, but also my professional career and personal life,” says Will regarding this impactful math class. After graduating high school, he decided to become an educator himself, and moved to Illinois to pursue this goal as a student at Northwestern University.
“Why did you go to Northwestern to become a teacher?”
While studying at the high-profile college (with a similarly high price-tag), this was a sentiment Will remembers hearing frequently from friends and strangers alike.
“I think that speaks to how teaching is looked at,” he recalls, “a lot of my peers at Northwestern went on to be in business, banking, or consulting-- the more ‘conventionally upper-class’ jobs. Teaching wasn’t necessarily something people gravitated towards or even understood.” He estimates just 1-2% of his classmates became teachers after graduation, but concluded the unique power of education to improve society outweighed the pressure to follow other career paths directly out of college.
So, while his friends slept-in during the senior spring, Will woke up early each day to fulfill the student teaching requirements necessary for an Illinois teaching credential. Knowing he was just 3-4 years older than some of his students, he found the position challenging but rewarding, and after graduating college he moved west to teach 8th-9th grade at a private school in San Diego.
As a first year teacher, Mr. Brito advised students to Make Good Choices in every class.
“It’s a very dynamic profession, and it is demanding,” Will says of the classroom. As a teacher, he prided himself in using history as a medium to teach close reading, compelling writing, and critical thinking. Years later, he still remembers his students fondly. “You’re there for them, and they’re there for you,” he mused.
After another year teaching history at a different independent school in Illinois, Will transitioned out of the classroom to pursue impact through the education technology sector.
“It was weird,” says Will of the switch from teaching to his startup, Elevate K-12, which provides live, remote tutoring for students in need of support. As a small organization, the company had Will serve in a variety of roles: marketing, finance, sales, and operations. While he found the change of environment challenging at times, Will succeeded in his new position through a combination of grit, perseverance, and strong business acumen.
“We grew a lot,” says Will of his time at the startup, “but if I wanted to see how everything fit together and the underlying concepts and strategies... I had to go to business school.”
With this reasoning in mind, Will enrolled in the two-year, joint degree program at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. There, he hopes to find the best ways for education and entrepreneurship to work hand-in-hand. After learning about Edstruments through Penn’s career services department, Will knew the company’s mission to improve K-12 school finance represented a perfect way to strengthen his management skills in the education sector.
“In light of potential budget shortfalls because of COVID-19, insights that Edstruments can provide are even more valuable,” Will says of the platform, which he will spend the summer working to develop through managing a cross-functional team of analysts to improve operations and create a comprehensive sales strategy. Clearly, this Texan is ready to “grab the bull by the horns” when it comes to improving student outcomes, and Edstruments is thrilled to have him join the team.
Edstruments exists to equip education leaders with the knowledge and tools to most effectively and equitably serve their students. To learn more about how we can help your school administrators make better financial decisions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the contact form on our main website.