The KIPP Approach: Tessa Mizokami's Vision for KIPP Pueblo Unido

The KIPP Approach: Tessa Mizokami's Vision for KIPP Pueblo Unido

“At KIPP Pueblo Unido we dismantle inequities in education through an academic and cultural program focused on fairness and opportunity to ensure achievement for all students,” said Founding School Leader, Tessa Mizokami. 

“Our teaching and learning and character education prepare our students to become the leaders who will build a better tomorrow,” stated Mizokami. “We work relentlessly and collectively to reach our ambitious goals, because we know ‘el pueblo unido jamás será vencido,’ the people united will never be defeated.”

You may ask, “what ignited our Founding School Leader’s dedication to education?” It was “the imprint of love, understanding, patience and joy” that she received from her high school teacher. Ms. Mizokami shared, “[my teacher] saw potential in me before I saw it in myself. I’ll never forget the way she made me feel; like I was smart, had so much to offer and could achieve anything. When I started teaching it became my mission to be that teacher for my kids.”

“Sometimes all it takes is one teacher to change the way you look at yourself and the way you approach the pathway ahead.” — Ms. Mizokami. 

The magic of our Pueblo Unido is the people — our KIPPsters, our families, our team. Hear from our Founding School Leader, Ms. Mizokami, share the vision for KIPP Pueblo Unido Lower School:

My name is Tessa Mizokami and I am the Founding School Leader at KIPP Pueblo Unido Lower School. I was born in Northridge, California and I am from a big, noisy family. I didn’t realize until I was in college that I was a first-generation college graduate. 

I specifically became a teacher because I wanted to close the opportunity gap by making sure that every student, regardless of zip code, has the same opportunity to thrive and make it to and through college!

The best part of my job is greeting my students in the morning when they walk into our school building and seeing the smile on their faces. At the heart of our school culture is deep intense love of who you are, the confidence of who you are, a love of your identity, a love of your family, a love of your friends. Every KIPPster, every family, every teacher, who joins our Pueblo makes our school a special place!


“The love we have for one another, for our students, and our larger school community is transformational. Together, our outcomes are always strengthened. Together, we continue building a pueblo where everyone wants to be at school.”

—Tessa Mizokami,
Founding School Leader

“I am very happy with the wonderful team you make! Seeing the results and progress of my children has surprised and made us happy,” said Mrs. Salazar, KIPP Pueblo Unido parent. 

KIPP Pueblo Unido continues to lead with optimism by being committed to a better tomorrow and taking action to create it. Ms. Mizokami concludes, “So, onward we work, plan and create as a Pueblo Unido leading with optimism.”

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