Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Executive Director of the Faith and Education Coalition, recently invited Dr. Almarie Munley to discuss education standards for K-12 students.

Almarie E. Munley, PhD, serves as the Dean of University College at Hampton University. She is an invited scholar and lecturer for Leadership Studies at several renowned universities across the globe. Born and raised in Guatemala, she earned her BS from Universidad Del Valle de Guatemala. She received her MA and PhD from Regent University.

Dr. Almarie Munley has served as a dean at Hampton University and is a founding member of our Leadership Advisory Council for the Faith and Education Coalition. She worked on the Globe Study, which is well known within leadership circles and among scholars in the field of leadership. I’m eager to hear the message you’d like to share with readers today.

Thank you. These are exciting times to be in the field of education. One of the key messages I share with others is that whatever you have, ALL you've been given, ALL you've been allowed to do, give that back. Turn it right back. Education stays with you all of your life. So what are you going to do to give that back? What am I going to do as a Latina woman to give back all that I've learned, that I've experienced?

I have a firm belief that we can do more together than we can apart, so I love to see the body of Christ come together, in particular from the Latino community, saying, "This issue on education equality, it matters to us as Latino Evangelicals." Why do you care about educational standards and that they would be high and equal, and education equality in general? Why does that tap on your heart

I started my desire and passion for education in Guatemala. I was a national assistant director to a literacy program for the Indian girl. This is a group of young women in our country that will never be educated, ever. If they are, they'll attain maybe first grade and that's about it. Starting on that project in my young college days really gave me that passion to say, "Everybody deserves an opportunity. Everybody has an equal right to know." God says it in His word. He says it clearly. His word gives us this encouragement, to know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction, to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth.” I saw so much breakthrough in that project that my heart continued to desire more and more in helping others achieve breakthrough in learning.

As a Latina who is in high leadership positions, what obstacles has the Lord helped you to overcome? What advice would you give Latinas who are struggling, maybe with being the only Latina in the room? I received a text just last night from someone who's in a different part of the country, who said, "I'm the only female in this room, so what do I do?"

That happens a lot in higher education. It's interesting. I get texts from some of my colleagues saying, "How does it feel to be in that room?" I’ve sat on a dean’s council and it was interesting. I was the only Latina, as a matter of fact, the first Latina dean appointed at a historically black university, the great university that is Hampton University. But we know, it's not about making those historical marks, it's more about what legacy are you leaving in those marks.

To my fellow Latina leaders, don’t focus on the blockages you may encounter. Focus on the opportunity that the situation presents. If there is stress or pressure, think about, "What can I do to deflect or distract from that stress?" You may encounter attitudes such as, "That's a Latina woman. She's young." Don't go by that. Go by the legacy. What is it that you do and what do you do well? What is your skill and how do you do it? Others will see that.

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