Elie Bilmes Leads With Compassion

Elie Blimes Interim Chief Program Officer

Think back to last Saturday morning, early, and what you were doing. Here in NYC as the remnants of Hurricane Ian blew through town, it was cold and blustery and a good morning for pulling the covers up over your head and staying in bed.

Elie Bilmes, the GO Foundation’sChief Program Officer was up early that day leading an orientation session on the Lower East Side for 10 new AmeriCorps Fellows who were set to begin their year of service this week.

Elie, who spent seven years at Teach For America (TFA) before coming to the GO Foundation, oversees the team of people who guide and support the AmeriCorps members serving throughout our network of schools. In doing so, he is informed by his experience as a social studies teacher in a St. Louis public high school and his experience at TFA supervising the preparation of recent college grads to work in urban schools. In a recent meeting Elie said that he ‘ tries to lead with compassion’, something that I’ve observed about him in the several years we’ve been working together.

During the orientation with the new AmeriCorps Fellows, I really loved this list that Elie and his colleagues Rich Denor and Hector Calderon distributed on best practices when it comes to tutoring and mentoring our students:

  • Communicate clear, specific, direct expectations
  • Model enthusiasm for the material being taught
  • Convince students their efforts will pay off
  • Provide feedback that is prompt, complete and detailed
  • Use active learning strategies
  • Set goals with students
  • Employ questions that provoke higher level thinking
  • Obtain parent support & buy-in for the work you are doing
  • Be tenacious
  • Establish task objectives that are a stretch

The list ended with this guidance to be given to our kids, but applied just as much to the work Elie is leading, “This isn’t easy. It’s hard, but you can do it. I am giving you this because I believe you can do it with effective effort.”

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