Cece Zhou (she/her) is Senior Director of Communications at Deans for Impact. Prior to joining DFI, she served on the communications and public affairs team at Teach For America, providing strategic communications coaching, consulting, and partnership to regional teams and executive directors. Cece started her career in school district administration and has also led marketing and communications for a college of education. She has lived in Michigan, Nevada, and Indiana over the last 10 years, and is currently based in Denver, Colorado with her husband and toddler.
Why did you start working in education?
In college, I took a course called Education in a Multicultural Society. Up until then, I had attended K-12 public schools in suburban, predominantly white, middle-class communities and took for granted the opportunities afforded to me. The course introduced me to the stark reality that this was not the case for millions of other K-12 students in America; I learned that factors such as ZIP code, race, and socioeconomic class often predetermined a student’s quality of education and access to resources and opportunities. As a result of this course and related experiences, I was galvanized to start a career that contributes toward a more equitable future for all children.
What do you enjoy most about working at DFI?
Our team. Every person on staff is fiercely committed to living into our core values. I'm so appreciative of working among people who care deeply not just about the work itself, but for each other -- and see the deep connections between how we show up for one another and what we want to be true for every student.
Describe a teacher or student who made a lasting impact in your life.
My college freshman English professor saw potential in my writing and asked me if I was planning to major in English. I had always loved to write but was, at the time, doubtful about the sustainability of turning it into a career. She nurtured my skills and confidence, connected me to our university writing center’s peer community, and encouraged me with the utmost kindness and compassion to explore the vast career possibilities for writers. Her belief and investment in me heavily influenced where I am today.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I'm originally from the Midwest, so living in Colorado for the last few years has opened up an incredible breadth of new experiences - I love getting to explore hiking trails, seek out hot springs, and try my hand at rock climbing.