Sylvia’s career spans more than 30 years with experience in K-12 education as a bilingual teacher and as a curriculum specialist at Region One Education Service Center. At Region One, she assisted educators across 38 school districts improve the teaching and learning capacity of students across South Texas as an Inclusion Specialist, a Science Specialist, and a GEAR UP Coordinator. She has administrative experience at the university level where she served as Associate Vice President of Student Affairs and as Vice President of Enrollment at the University of Texas Brownsville and as Associate Vice President for Student Educational Outreach at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. In that capacity she supervised various P-16 pre-college initiatives, federal grants, testing, and other student support services that supported first generation minority students to enter and succeed in higher education.
Dr. Leal has served on a number of boards and in community leadership positions. She strongly believes that equitable quality education can transform the lives of students, their families, and their communities especially for diverse unrepresented students. Sylvia continues her lifetime work to seek and develop innovative initiatives that increase the number of first generation students that obtain postsecondary credentials with labor market value.
Sylvia enjoys cooking, gardening, and spending time with her family.