Pelleo was born in Atlanta but also lived in Florida, where she met her husband of 16 years. They moved back to Atlanta in 2008 and have two kids. Pelleo received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Management from Lincoln College of Technology and her Cosmetology License from Atlanta Technical College in 2013. Her career consists of helping others in the community and making changes in people’s lives.
Pelleo has been working in the nonprofit sector for the past eight years as an Office and Grant Manager. For the past five years, Pelleo has made sure every person in Georgia has access to healthy food options at the Georgia Food Bank Association. Pelleo has dedicated her free time to learning about education advocacy, design and mindful thinking. Her goal is to ensure people of color have access to high-quality schools and become their most authentic selves.
Her work started with her son, who was diagnosed with dyslexia. She witnessed the lack of support from her local school system and made the hard choice to send her son to school out of the country. She now wants every child to have the same learning opportunities as her son, who receives a whole child education tailored to their own needs and talents.
I aspire to be like Sir Ken Robinson. Here’s why:
My fondest memory as a child was Ms. Steven’s second -grade class. Every week, I had to stand in the corner to hold a stack of books in my hand because I was not paying attention in class. When I wasn’t holding a book, I was popped with a ruler on my knuckles. Ms. Steven didn’t know I had dyslexia. She didn’t see that my learning struggles were no fault of my own. It took me 37 years to realize that my way of learning is through creativity. So many people have my story, and Sir Ken Robinson, a recognized leader in developing creativity, innovation and human resources in education, was one of the first human beings that spoke my language around education.
Sir Ken Robinson believes the role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas–it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel valued. As a seven-year-old child in that classroom, I did not feel like my ideas and way of thinking were valued. I never had an education taught to me as a person rather than a system.
Why I love my job:
I was born to help others, and my life experiences have shaped and prepared me to be this bold, outspoken and willing to go against the norm individual. I love my job because I am changing a broken system. A wealth of talent lies in us, yet our school system does not reflect that. We must nurture creativity and not kill it. Some of the most brilliant, creative people I know did not do well in school. Many didn’t discover themselves until they left school and recovered from their education (myself included). My job allows me to change this narrative. I will encourage people to reimagine the way that students are learning.
My connection to public schools:
I am the product of public schools from kindergarten until college. However, I was not fortunate to have a great education experience. If it were not for my mother constantly being on top of my education, I would not be able to read and write. However, I now realize how important it is to have a parent’s voice in our education system, and my goal is to empower parents to use their voices to change the way students are learning.
What I’m bad at:
Getting out of my head–I am always overanalyzing a problem.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN:
The image below was taken in 2015 in India. It shows parents climbing a building wall to pass cheat sheets to students while taking an exam. Education authorities in India say 600 high school students were expelled and several parents were arrested. I work at 50CAN because we must stop teaching to a system and start teaching the child. It’s time to change the system, and I am honored to work for an organization fighting for those changes to our country’s education system.