It is with great passion, love, and humility that I have the honor of introducing myself as the Principal of Monarca Academy. I wanted to take an opportunity to share a little about myself, what drives me in this work, and my journey in education to this point. My identity and life have always been centered around family. Raised by a single mother in San Antonio, Texas, I was the first-hand recipient of all the love of being lifted up and supported by my extended Latino family village. It is this feeling of love, of belonging, of unwavering support that I know from my own upbringing that will serve as the foundation for my vision to support our students at Monarca. Too often in our society, students (and people in general) are made to feel that spaces are not made for them, that not all of their identity is “appropriate” for a specific space. This is why we create Monarca, a space for students to not only bring all of their identity, but to utilize the parts of their identity as the assets they are to further our students’ learning. In my own educational experiences, I have observed the systemic inequities as my mother made sacrifices working multiple jobs to send me to private schools rather than the same neighborhood schools she had attended. It would not be until years later that I would reflect on the decisions my mother made and realize the deep inequity and injustice present in our society.
My journey to this point began long before I stepped foot into a classroom, but was shaped most impactfully by time teaching middle school English/Language Arts at George Washington Community School. It was through the lessons my students taught me that I realized the importance of creating environments that create a sense of belonging and mattering for students. Following my years in the classroom, I had the privilege of learning alongside other English/Language Arts teachers as a district-level Secondary English Instructional Coach. Once again, I was the benefactor of engaging in conversations around learning with others who had different lived experiences and identities. It is these experiences that have helped me understand the importance of valuing and honoring the perspectives of others and how these humanizing interactions sustain our ability to work together to provide the most inclusive environment for students. It is only through doing this hard, self-reflective work together that we can build trusting learning partnerships with our students that lead to academic success. And so I have arrived here at Monarca, ready to continue the next step on my own identity journey as we together build the space our students need and deserve. Thank you for supporting us in this vision and I look forward to introducing some of the equity commitments at the heart of our academic model in the upcoming newsletters.