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July 25, 2016 40 Under Forty 2016

Isabel Cristina Ceballos

Isabel Cristina Ceballos Isabel Cristina Ceballos
Isabel Cristina Ceballos has taken numerous trips to Colombia since she was 15, including with her daughter, Mia Bella. 
Isabel Cristina Ceballos visits students at Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Hartford to let them know they had been accepted into the Horizons at The Ethel Walker School enrichment program.

Age: 27

Company: Horizons at The Ethel Walker School

Title: Executive Director

Town where I live: Simsbury

Town where I work: Simsbury, Hartford

College: Central Connecticut State University


What do you do and what are your goals in your current job? I am the director of a nonprofit that empowers underserved students who attend Hartford Public Schools. Our goal is to create the conditions, connections and community that enable every girl to gain the skills, confidence and motivation to overcome the opportunity gap and realize her potential.

What are your goals for your community involvement? Our students' long-term success depends on community engagement. Our Horizons community primarily refers to Simsbury, where our program is based, and Hartford, which is home to our students. Our goal is to deepen relationships between and within Simsbury and Hartford, providing students with resources and opportunities that may already exist within their community.

What's your biggest passion? Education. There is no greater feeling than to empower and guide a student on their journey to discovery, whether it's in the classroom, on the court or in life.

What are your future aspirations? I aspire to one day lead an educational institution that will stand on the values of integrity, intellectual curiosity, academic freedom and civic engagement, and allow all students to reach their potential.

What needs to happen for Hartford to become a more vibrant city where people work, live and play? There needs to be significant investment in Hartford's education system. Effective use of resources would involve a more deliberate intervention strategy in early childhood education and stronger support to lower-performing and disadvantaged schools. By providing equitable education in every school, Hartford will attract and retain strong school leaders and high-quality teachers. An improved education system will help to drive the city's economy.

List four reasons why you deserve to be a 40 Under Forty:

  1. I am the founding executive director of Horizons at The Ethel Walker School, the first Horizons program in the Greater Hartford area and first all-girls Horizons program in the country.
  2. I was the recipient of the 2016 Thelma Ellis Dickerson Jumoke Academy Bridge Builder Award, for my leadership and collaborative contributions in preparing students to succeed in the global marketplace.
  3. I helped Latina students at The Ethel Walker School found the Latin American Student Organization on campus.
  4. I co-founded a winter-term course that allows Walker students to be a teacher's aide in a Hartford Public School.

Time Tested:

What personal possession in your life has withstood the test of time? I have a necklace with a Smurf pendant that was given to me by my uncle when I was born, and I still wear it.

What hobby did you develop at a young age that you still enjoy today? Volleyball

Twenty years ago, what did you envision as your future profession? At the age of 7, I envisioned myself being a rock star, specifically a member of the Spice Girls.

Who do you consider your mentor? Renee Alexander, judicial assistant/courtroom deputy, U.S. District Court

See the complete list of Forty Under 40 Winners for 2016! 

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