Who is Celia Sosa?: An Illustration of Our New Executive Director’s Life and Work

Celia Sosa was born in Colorado and raised in Brooklyn. From the very beginning of her life, “she was a fighter,” says Celia’s mother, Jeanette Sosa. “She was a premature baby, and in the process of being a premature baby, she had not developed her lungs and her eyesight.” To help her develop her lungs, Celia’s father, Jose Sosa, enrolled her in a children’s running team, and to everyone’s surprise, she exceeded all expectations. “She fought all the way, won every race, and just kept going,” Jeanette notes. “At nine years old, she qualified for the Junior Olympics in Oregon where she was ranked in the top hundred junior runners in the United States,” adds Jose. This inspiring story from her childhood foreshadowed the very perseverance and drive that Celia Sosa continued to exhibit throughout her life in ways that have now led her to become Hyde’s new Executive Director.

For Celia,  education always came first. “I remember when she was young, she would sit in her room for hours studying,” recalled her mother. All that time paid off. Celia received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Philosophy with a concentration in History from SUNY Binghamton. She also completed a second Master’s degree in Education with a concentration in adolescent social studies at Pace University. Although, when applying to receive her Master’s degree at Pace, the admissions office told her she needed to take an economics class to fulfill the credits needed to be admitted. But instead of taking a full economics class, she decided to test out of it by studying completely on her own. “I was scratching my head thinking, how is this kid going to pass an economics test without even attending an economics class? But she did it,” explained Jose.

Upon graduating, Celia went on to become a 2005 Teach for America corp member, worked as a teacher, and took on various leadership roles. In 2007 she began at Hyde as a history teacher and was selected as the founding High School Director in 2010. As High School Director, she has developed a top-tier high school program with exemplary student and alumni outcomes that are recognized across the county. 

Now, as she enters the next chapter of her career, her friends and colleagues reflect on how Celia has gone above and beyond to now become Executive Director. Veteran Hyde English teacher, Mark Fusco explains, “One of her main jobs is going to be to tell the Hyde story and speak to Hyde’s history and culture, and there’s really nobody better to do that. I think that person who has that job needs to come from an authentic place, and she’ll come from the most authentic place possible.” Mr. Fusco continued on to note that, “As a woman of color who went from being a teacher to Principal to Executive Director, I think she’s a role model for boss women; our young girls who are going to do a bunch of stuff to run the world.” Friend and former colleague, Cliff Van Voorhees echoes Mr. Fusco’s sentiments, “She clearly is a positive role model given her own, personal life story and achievements…equally important, as a Latina, she is a relatable role model.”

As Celia begins her transition from High School Principal to Executive Director, Hyde’s Executive Director of seven years, Tom Sturtevant reflects on the years of memories he has garnered from working with Celia. Mr. Sturtevant explains that, upon first meeting Celia, “Her capacity to suspend judgment and try to really understand where somebody’s coming from was immediately apparent… I felt comfortable with Celia… and it wasn’t just a comfort show, it was ‘Let’s do this together,’ a strong sense of partnership.” When being asked about Celia’s transition into her new position as Executive Director at Hyde, Mr. Sturtevant states, “Celia is deeply aligned in her soul and in her heart with the mission of the school and with the opportunities for our students and families that she’s committed to awakening… She’s been [at Hyde] since day one, so as much as Celia’s grown up with the school, the school has grown under her leadership.” 

From the very start of her life to now, Celia Sosa has proven to be a fierce educator, learner, grower, and dreamer. We look forward to welcoming Celia in her new position and seeing her go above and beyond as she fulfills Hyde’s mission with a heightened focus on inclusion and social activism. The future of Hyde Leadership Charter School is looking exceptionally bright as Ms. Sosa enters her new position not only as Executive Director but as a representative of Hyde’s community and a role model for our students.