Mindy Rice trains hard and works harder. The triathlete and educator is the founding principal of AF Promesa Elementary, the newest addition to Achievement First Rhode Island schools welcoming its first cohort of students this fall.
We spoke with Mindy about her educator journey and her hopes for the inaugural class of AF Promesa Elementary.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and raised in Lansing, MI. I come from a very large, close-knit family. As a first-generation college student and Latina woman, my education is something that I’m extremely proud of. I love competing and often participate in races and triathlons. My husband, Taylor, and dog, Lenox, love to join me while backpacking and hiking in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. My faith is really important to me and it’s where I draw my values from. I’m excited to begin the next journey of founding our newest Achievement First school with a wonderful, mission-aligned staff, and all of our families and kids!
Why did you go into education?
I went into education because I believe deeply in helping all children reach their fullest potential. As a first-generation college student, there were many challenges that I faced in my own educational journey. Most of the challenges centered around me not feeling as though I had the confidence or intelligence to keep up with my peers on an academic level. I so badly want any kid that I teach to feel the opposite. That is why I believe in helping children see the power that they have within themselves. In addition, while I believe that education has provided opportunities for me and, more importantly, it has given me the critical thinking skills I need to be part of broader conversations that seek to make our society better. I also want our children to have all of the necessary tools to be part of community conversations that seek to break down unequal systems in our country.
Why Achievement First?
I feel so honored to be part of a network that deeply believes in children, staff, and families and really puts them at the forefront of everything that we do. I’ve never worked for an organization that has so many vision-aligned staff. It’s humbling to think that I’m part of a network that serves thousands of children and families and believes so deeply in them. I’m also just so grateful for the opportunities that Achievement First has given me.
When did you know you wanted to be a principal?
This is actually something that I’ve thought about for a long time. I’ve been a dean for the past 6 years and have loved every minute of it—I love being able to partner with teachers to create strong systems for our kids to soar and to teach! I felt strongly that I needed to create strong results for kids and teachers as a dean before stepping into a principal role. And after a lot of prayer and coaching, I’m finally feeling ready to step into the principal seat. I’m excited to drive a strong vision for AF Promesa and ensure that our kids, staff, and families feel loved, cared for, and stretched to reach their greatest potential!
As a founding principal of AF Promesa, what are you most looking forward to?
I’m most looking forward to setting the foundation for kids and staff to thrive through loving, intentional, and joyful school systems. I’m also excited to partner with families to create a truly exceptional educational experience for their kiddos!
When you’re not founding a school, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my family and friends—playing games, hiking, and being outdoors. I enjoy attending church and doing service projects through my church. I’m also a triathlete and love to participate in triathlons!
What do you want families to know about AF Promesa?
I want families to know that we promise to create a loving, kind, consistent atmosphere for their children to thrive!