The story of EPLA is an unlikely one. Omar Yanar and Andrew Benitez, both from El Paso, met serendipitously while studying at Harvard. As the two shared their experiences with public education in El Paso, they quickly realized that students were going into college deeply unprepared, not just for the academic realities but for the complexity of life itself. As a result, they set out to make a difference in their community.
The original El Paso Leadership Academy was founded and opened in 2014. Today, it is a top ranked public school in Texas, continues to attract educators who understand our cause, and leads the country in innovative practices. The growth of EPLA and the vision of its founders continued in 2021, when EPLA East Middle School & High School was opened.