Omar Escalera


Omar Escalera grew up at our Vista Hermosa community many years ago.  During his time there, by his own words, he struggled to make sense of the things that had been done to him – at age 12 no one had asked him if he wanted to come to this country and leave everything he knew.  He had a chip on his shoulder and, like many, was at risk of falling on the wrong side of society’s expectations and getting into trouble. Recently, Omar was invited to attend one of our leadership meetings at the Collegium to share some thoughts with us, having just read a book about servant leadership in his PhD program to become a Superintendent.  Before us stood a mature professional, seasoned by the years with kind eyes ready for a discussion.  Omar explained that it’s taken him nearly 20 years to finally understand the relevancy of servant leadership and his life in community at Vista Hermosa.  “Those people within the community who saw beyond the poor behavior into the potential that I inherently possessed saved my life,” he said.  Now an elementary school Principal, Omar’s first act was to reach out to students’ families.   From his time at Vista Hermosa, he recognized the importance of knowing deeply those he was about to serve.  Today, his youthful rebelliousness is directed to system change, knowing that there are other Omars out there needing to feel like they belong and who are more than their behavior suggests.  Community has been and continues to be his source of strength as he was one who was served, but is now serving.