I am of Cuban birth, my Hispanic roots are deep within me; however, I have learned to straddle two cultures. I like to say that I can eat black beans and meat loaf on the same plate.

My friends think that I am the most unlikely person to be a teacher. I hate following instructions, I don’t like to work collaboratively, I hate sitting still and I talk all the time. I was the kid in the classroom who the teacher was always redirecting. I was and still am an ESOL student, as Spanish is my first language.

I am the mother of three grown children, who did not have a choice, but to attend and graduate from college. The mantra around my house was, “after college, your life is your own.” I know how to effectively use Cuban Mother guilt.

Since the age of four I have always wanted to be a teacher. I love words and ideas. I love to play Scrabble, eat chocolate, dance, and read. Since the age of sixteen, I knew that I wanted to work for God.

I received my BS Degree from Florida State University. Yes, in my heart I am a Seminole.

I received my Master and Doctor Degrees from Nova Southeastern University in Educational leadership. I am very proud of this degree because I remember that as a little girl, teachers used to say, “Don’t worry about little Maria, she can’t learn.” Thus, I have dedicated my Doctor Degree to Little Maria, because she CAN learn.

I believe that everything in life is relational and in that old African Proverb, which sums it up, “It takes a village to raise a child.” It takes a village to live life.

I have taught middle school, high school and college. I have had the greatest honor an educator can have, which is to build and principal a school from foundation to accreditation. I have principal private and public schools. I have led them to become “A” grade schools. I now chose a different path. I, want to dedicate my time to encourage, nurture and empower others to achieve their dreams.

 

Dr. Maria Saunders