Sal Perez got his start in “Sesame Street” as a production coordinator in 2006, while he was still a senior in college.
Sixteen years later, Perez, 38, is making history as the beloved children’s show’s first Latino executive producer, ushering in a new season — the show’s 53rd — on Thursday.
“I did film school, and I never thought that I would be doing TV that was positive for kids,” Perez, a first-generation Mexican American who grew up in California’s Bay Area, told NBC News. “It’s such a big responsibility that I sometimes try not to think about it.”
“Sesame Street” holds a special place for generations of Americans who learned numbers and letters — as well as kindness and tolerance — through a show that helped pioneer diversity and positive representations of many groups, including Latino characters.