Senior Manager of Engagement and Operations for Tennessee
Vilmaris is the senior manager of engagement and operations for The Education Trust in Tennessee, where she manages partnerships across the state and works closely with the Student Voice Project and Student Policy Council Members. Vilmaris also manages the day-to-day operations of the state office.
Prior to joining Ed Trust, she served as the engagement and leadership development manager at Conexión Américas and on behalf of the Tennessee Educational Equity Coalition. Previously, she worked in the Dominican Republic at Global Glimpse, an international nonprofit that focuses on cross-cultural education and leadership development opportunities for American and Dominican youth, and later taught at a bilingual school in Santiago de Los Caballeros for two years before deciding to return to Tennessee.
While Tennessee raised, Vilmaris is a New Jersey-born Boricua at heart. Currently, she is a Master of Education candidate at Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College of Education in the Learning, Diversity, and Urban Studies Program, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international business from The University of Tennessee. Vilmaris is a member of the Nashville Emerging Leaders Class of 2020 and the Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute Class of 2019.
I can name (almost) every single country in the world in under 15 minutes. I’ve been practicing and taking geography quizzes off and on since I was a sophomore in college. In 2015, the ultimate dream of sharing my passion for geography came true: I taught middle school World Geography for two years. Geography informed and inspired my passion for traveling and desire to see and experience every corner of the world and to connect and learn from others.
A good beat that I can dance to, tostones con mayoketchup, and cheap flights.
What drew you to education?
Education was highly valued in my working-class Puerto Rican household. My brother and I are were always encouraged to study, read, practice, to dream big. Because we grew up in a rural town in Tennessee, my parents really described education as this “ticket” to something more we could accomplish in life. Originally, I did not plan on becoming a teacher or working in education policy and advocacy, but I always say “education found me.” This work matters and I know I am exactly where I belong: at the intersection of social justice and educational equity and with a dedicated, passionate team who advocates for education justice every single day.