Erica Mosca (She/Her), known by many in the community as “Ms. Mosca,” is a proud first-generation college graduate, daughter of a Filipino immigrant, and social justice advocate. Part of the college access non-profit 10,000 Degrees in high school and serving as a fifth grade teacher with Teach For America, Las Vegas, Mosca experienced educational inequity in both her personal and professional life. “I am dedicated to empowering change from the community, for the community to ensure students can play the game to change the game to upend structural inequity and systemic racism. The opportunity to attain a college education is the foundation, though not prerequisite, for underrepresented students to become the diverse leaders of their own communities.”
In 2008 Mosca graduated Summa Cum Laude from Boston University and moved to Las Vegas to teach 5th grade in East Las Vegas. Mosca made her classroom theme “Leaders in Training” to empower equitable opportunity for students from a similar background as herself. In 2012 when her former 5th graders started high school, Mosca started “Leaders in Training” as an official non-profit organization with her own savings. Today LIT empowers over 200 students annually with a 100% college acceptance rate, 81% postsecondary persistence rate including 20 different institutions in 8 states from NYU, University of Michigan to USC and all of our NV schools and 100% of members committing to use their education and success to empower their home community. Some of Mosca’s former 5th graders are now first-generation college graduates working full-time at places like PLAN, Teach For America and the United Way of Southern Nevada living out Mosca’s vision of change from the community, for the community. LIT's budget in 2012 was less than $10,000-- in the past decade Mosca raised nearly $2 million for East Las Vegas youth and parents as a BIPOC woman from a low-income background herself.
Currently Mosca serves on US Congressman Steven Horsford's Equity Cabinet, the NV State Public Charter School Authority appointed by the NV State Board of Education and supports national US Air Force Spouse initiatives as an enlisted military spouse. Recently, Mosca has served on the Board of Trustees of college access high school Cristo Rey St. Viator & as the Academic Committee Chair, the Board Chair of college persistence program & housing complex Q3 Student Partners' Community Advisory Board and served on the Clark County Community Development Advisory Committee appointed by Commissioner Justin Jones.
Early in her career, Mosca served on college access charter school Equipo Academy's Committee to Form, as the Chair of the United Way of Southern Nevada's Women's United Engagement Committee and as an Executive Board member of the Asian American Pacific Islander Democratic Caucus serving as the Corresponding Secretary. She has worked for Teach For America, TNTP & as a Special Projects Manager for previous Clark County School District Superintendent Dwight Jones as the original project manager for the School Performance Framework (SPF).
Erica was awarded the 2022 NAACP Las Vegas Branch Legacy Builder Award, 2021 Asian Community Development Council InspirAsian Award, 2021 Women Inspiring Nevada recognition from the Las Vegas Weekly, 2020 Community Hero Award from the Public Education Foundation for LIT's work during COVID-19 and the 2019 Boston University Young Alumni Award. Erica is a proud 2021 Leadership Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce Alum serving on the DEI Committee & Education Day Co-Chair, 2017 Emerge NV member, 2011 Education Pioneers Boston cohort member, 2008 Teach For America Las Vegas corps member and holds a B.S. from Boston University, an M.Ed. from UNLV & and Ed.M. from Harvard's Graduate School of Education.
Never forgetting where she comes from, Mosca is an avid J-Cole, rompers, Las Vegas and connecting people fan. She was married over zoom during quarantine in April 2020 to her husband Nicholas Jared Smith who is an active duty enlisted airmen serving in his 17th year in the United States Air Force currently stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. Erica is 35 and continues to own her home 16-houses down from her Teach For America placement school where her mother and father reside and daily run into LIT students and families. Erica and Nick live together with their dog Panda as proud East Las Vegas residents in the Winterwood neighborhood. Pictured: Erica, Nick and her parents Eric & Carol Mosca.