Celebrating Hispanic Latine Heritage Month With Dr. Maria Armstrong

Episode 150 · October 6th, 2023 · 26 mins 49 secs

About this Episode

In this episode, we celebrate Hispanic Latine Heritage Month with Dr. Maria Armstrong. A longtime educator, Dr. Armstrong is executive director of the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents {ALAS]. She talks with host Suzanne McCabe about her experiences in education and how we can better serve Latino children and families.

Dr. Armstrong grew up in the Southwest, in an extended family of Latino, Mescalaro Apache, and Yaqui heritage. “My family didn’t cross the border,” she says. “The border crossed us.” A high school dropout, she eventually earned a PhD in organizational leadership. In 2021, she was named one of the Top 20 Female Leaders in the Education Industry.

Having served as a teacher, superintendent, school counselor, and tech expert, among several other roles, Dr. Armstrong is dedicated to helping children thrive, especially children who have been historically marginalized. She is an adviser to Scholastic’s Rising Voices book series elevating Latino stories and a contributor to Equity in the Classroom (Scholastic Teaching Solutions, 2022).

“What I’m most proud of are my own children and grandchildren,” Dr. Armstrong says. “My children saved my life, and public education was my family’s saving grace.”

→ Resources
Hispanic and Latine Heritage Book Picks: Check out these featured titles for young readers from Scholastic.
Equity in the Classroom: 20 educational leaders, including Dr. Armstrong, share their views on what equity in education looks like and how we can achieve it.
Rising Voices Library: Learn more about our K - 5 book collections, which feature stories of the Latin diaspora, as well as print and digital teaching materials.
My Two Border Towns, by David Bowles and Erika Meza. A picture book debut by an award-winning author depicts a boy's life on the United States-Mexico border. (Kokilla, 2021)

→ Highlights
Dr. Maria Armstrong, executive director, the Association of Latino Administrators and Superintendents [ALAS]
“Being a voice is really one of the greatest gifts that I get to experience [on behalf of our administrators and superintendents], because I spend a lot of time listening to what they’re going through, but [more important] the things that they’re so proud of, that they are working on and doing for students across this nation.”

“Education in our families, the Latino families, is far bigger than the four walls we send our kids to . . . from the morning to the afternoon.”
“There was no white picket fence for sure. But what we had was family, and what we had was the security of knowing that when anybody in that neighborhood needed anything, we were there. Not just as an individual, but as a community.”

“Food is a central part [of celebrations], because it’s something that you compartir, you share. So food is a place to be able to make something with love and be able to show that this is my specialty, and I want to share it with you. So everybody brings something that they are proud of. It makes it all tastier, of course, because you’re eating the best from everyone.”

“Food is very central, but I also think that it’s just the gathering and the sharing of the stories…. The stories are always so, so rich.”

→ Special Thanks
Producer: Maxine Osa

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan
Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl

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