In 1985, Silva came to Minnesota from her native Chile, not speaking a word of English. She lived with her older sister, then an instructor at St. Cloud State University. To make ends meet, she worked in a nursing home and a Taco Bell. She fell in love with her English tutor. The two married, and Silva, who had worked as an elementary-school teacher in Chile, eventually earned a degree from St. Cloud State. In 1987, she began her long career in the St. Paul schools.
Saint Paul Public Schools (SPPS) is a school district that covers the entire city of Saint Paul, Minnesota and is the state’s largest school district serving an estimate 38,380 students. The district run 67 different schools consisting of 48 elementary, 8 middle schools, 7 high schools, 3 alternative schools and one special education schools. The Saint Paul Public Schools district employs over 6,500 teachers and staff, and participates in the University of Minnesota’s College in the Schools program. In 1993, St. Paul became the first city in the U.S. to open a charter school and currently has 21 charter schools. Famous graduates include Warren Burger, Harry Blackmun, Roy Wilkins and Charles M. Schulz.