Influential Leaders

Priscila Cruz

Executive President, Todos Pela Educação (All for Education)
Recognition Year(s): 2023
Area of Impact: Community or Social Impact
School: Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo, Fundação Getulio Vargas
Location: Brazil

Priscila Cruz is an education specialist and executive president and co-founder of Todos Pela Educação (All for Education), a Brazilian nonprofit organization created to ensure the right to quality basic education.

One of the most prominent voices in the Brazilian educational debate, Cruz is a renowned specialist in public basic education and leads an important civil society movement: Todos Pela Educação. Founded in 2006, Todos Pela Educação has a mission to ensure that the government guarantees quality public basic education to all children and young people. Nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nongovernmental, Todos Pela Educação brings together representatives from different sectors of society, such as public managers, teachers, parents, students, researchers, specialists, press professionals, businesspeople, social organizations, and initiatives committed to guaranteeing the right to quality education for all citizens.

Before co-founding Todos Pela Educação, Cruz began her professional life as a business consultant in the private sector. In 2001, she was invited to work on the United Nations’ International Year of Volunteers committee—the work of which eventually led to the establishment of International Volunteer Day—in Brazil. As part of the committee, Cruz was responsible for coordinating projects that promoted volunteer work, mobilizing more than 20 million people throughout the country. In the following year, she co-founded the Instituto Faça Parte (Be Part of It), an organization dedicated to encouraging volunteer projects developed by students and connected with a pedagogical proposal. Cruz dedicated herself to Instituto Faça Parte until 2006, the year Todos Pela Educação was founded.

Most recently, Cruz was the winner in the Highlights in the Pandemic category of the 2022 Social Entrepreneur Awards hosted by the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo in partnership with the Schwab Foundation. The award evaluated the initiatives of impact and scale in the country’s response to COVID-19. Under Cruz’s leadership, Todos Pela Educação created guidelines to help schools with remote teaching and the return to in-person classes.

 During the pandemic, Todos Pela Educação researched and outlined good practices for the safe reopening of schools. With the cooperation of several specialists, the organization produced documents that guided state and municipal governments and supported the resolutions of the National Council of Education. It also helped formulate and approve the new Fund for the Maintenance and Development of Basic Education, and defended the upcoming need for teachers and education workers to receive vaccines against COVID-19. Through this social advocacy, Todos Pela Educação helped expedite the reopening of schools, positively impacting Brazilian learning and education.

Cruz’s mission is to inspire and unite Brazilians in support of quality public education for all children and young students. Todos Pela Educação acts through an advocacy cycle, from diagnosing the issues to articulating concrete policies for solution. This approach has led to significant societal impacts over the organization’s 16 years of operation:

  • Todos Pela Educação has impacted more than 46 million students and 2.2 million teachers.
  • During the pandemic, Todos Pela Educação’s various support initiatives reached 4,000 municipal managers and 1,400 municipalities, and it mobilized 80 specialists to guide technical notes on remote teaching and school reopenings.
  • The Anuário Brasileiro da Educação Básica (Brazilian Yearbook of Basic Education), a reference source published by Todos Pela Educação, has received more than 10,000 hits.
  • In 2022, a year of state and national elections, Todos Pela Educação conducted immersion “caravans”—conversation circles with students, teachers, politicians, specialists, and businesspeople—in 14 Brazilian states, sharing a systemic agenda for Brazilian education (Educação Já) with future public managers.

In its effort to remain independent, Todos Pela Educação does not receive public funds. Cruz engages with private sector and business leaders for support, conveying to them the idea that quality public education benefits everyone—even those who have children in private schools. She firmly believes that basic education is a necessary foundation for a country’s success in the 21st-century economy.

Cruz holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Getulio Vargas Foundation, a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and a law degree from University of São Paulo.