W/A’s Queenstar Akrong sat down with Elana Meyers Taylor for the first in a series of interviews with changemakers in education.

In the video, Meyers Taylor – the most decorated Black athlete in the Winter Olympics – shares some of her most formative educational experiences, including Mrs. Oliver, Elana’s first grade teacher, who was the first teacher Elana had that “looked like” her.

“My most impactful teacher was my first grade teacher. She was the first teacher I had that looked like me and the first role model I had. Having her achieve higher education levels, having that front and center, teaching me, showed me, ‘Hey, this is potential for you. This is an opportunity for you.’ And it meant a lot.”

She also talks about her work with Classroom Champions, which brings the mentorship and mindset of world-class athletes to schools around the country to improve student engagement, build growth mindsets, and inspire positive classroom culture.