RIISE Spotlight: Liz Fernandez – Latina On The Move!

Liz Fernandez & Pres of NHLI_opt-1

NHLI Board President, Marieli Colón Padilla and Liz Fernandez

You may know her. She is fiercely committed to her family, her students, and her heritage. And, many more will get to know and benefit from the leadership and vision of Liz Fernandez! Liz is on the move and on the rise. As a Latina, Liz is now part of an elite group of Latina women selected to be the next generation that will help shape the future. Liz shares what this appointment to 2013 NHLI’s Executive Leadership Program means to her…take it away Liz!

“Thanks for your willingness to share this news with the great RIISE community! I am incredibly honored to be part of this extraordinary opportunity as an educator, leader, Latina and mother! I was drawn to this program because of the specific emphasis on developing ethical leaders through a female and Latina cultural lens. I have always taken seriously my responsibility as the daughter of Dominican immigrants who sacrificed so much to achieve their American dream. This social responsibility, in fact, is what drew me back to a career in education, after years of independent consulting.
I am excited about the personal and professional development opportunity that participating in NHLI’s 2013 Executive Leadership Program will afford me. During our first weekend in DC, where NHLI celebrated its 25th anniversary, I met more Latina PhD’s than I had in my entire life! That validation is quite similar to the feeling I suspect children and families of color experience when they see themselves reflected in the teaching staff, the administrative team, the curriculum and/or the student body. Although I understand this feeling on a cognitive level, still, as the daughter of immigrants, I was moved to tears to know I was part of an organization that had Latina professionals who had earned doctorates and were leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors. This was empowering! This was validating! This was an emotional moment for me and I cherished every second of it!
I look forward to learning with members of my cohort at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and at the Center for Creative Leadership about being a more effective and transformative leader. Most especially, I’m excited about cultivating meaningful relationships with NHLI alumni and the women in the 2013 class!I look forward to bringing all of the knowledge acquired from this experience to serve all of the extraordinary communities I am privileged to be associated with, and especially the greater Latino community. My commitment to honor my parents’ intentions continues to be a guiding force and daily motivation.
I also look forward to sharing lessons learned through my teaching, my leading and my modeling, for students, parents and colleagues alike! Thank you to ECF, RCS, my friends, my family, NHLI, the 2013 ELP Class of Mariposas for your steadfast support! Each of you is helping me make my parents proud.”

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