Long before she was known as the wife of democratic presidential candidate, Julián Castro, Erica Lira was on a mission. As a San Antonio native and first generation college graduate in her family, Erica Lira has worked in education for over a decade, and has tirelessly sought to encourage more Latinos to enter the field of teaching.
According to her bio, Erica initially earned her degree in English from the University of Texas at San Antonio and then went on to receive her Masters degree in Educational Leadership. She then worked as an elementary math teacher for 12 years, and transitioned into her role as an education consultant.
In a promotional campaign video with Dr. Jill Biden, who she teamed up with in 2015 to promote more Hispanic American teachers in the classroom, Erica spoke of the benefits of representation. The video was used to promote the digital campaign #LatinosTeach, that was launched by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics.
“As our nation’s Hispanic student population grows, there is an increasing need for more teachers who are Hispanic, for more teachers who understand Hispanic culture and communities,” she said. According to Good, about 80 percent of all public school teachers were non Hispanic White, 9 percent were Hispanic, 7 percent were non-Hispanic Black, and 2 percent were non-Hispanic Asian during the 2015-16 school year.
“As a teacher, I have seen firsthand the tremendous effect we can have on our students by showing them that we believe in them and we expect great things from them,” Erica added. “They rise to the occasion, and succeed.”
Erica and Julián
She first met her husband when he was home from Harvard one summer. Since that momentous occasion, they have created a life together and two adorable kids: Carina and Cristián.
But unlike other political spouses of generations past, Erica isn’t afraid of being outspoken and focusing on both family and career. As she explained in an interview with San Antonio Express-News, “I don’t think I’m unlike other women of my generation. I want a marriage, children, my own career and a chance to participate in public service,” she said. “I think we can have it all.”
In fact, it’s likely she’ll be a positive influence to Julián when it comes to education measures should he win the presidency. But more than anything, Lira Castro is passionate about dedicating her time to volunteering and giving back to her community.