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December 2021 - Koreeña Montoya

Colorado Association of Latino/a Administrators and Superintendents LA LUZ DE LIDERAZO - A MEMBERSHIP SPOTLIGHT December 2021

December 2021 - Koreeña Montoya

Welcome to the CO ALAS Membership Spotlight. Each month we introduce you to one of our many CO ALAS members. Let’s see what they are doing and what’s on their mind! This month we are featuring Koreeña Montoya, Director, West Central Region, Migrant Education Program. Koreeña shares his professional career and current bio below. You can read the diverse experiences that have led to her various leadership roles. One of our shining stars!

Career Highlights & EducationI was born and raised in Grand Junction, CO where my large family has resided for several generations. As a first-generation college graduate from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, I earned a B.S. in Mathematics and a B.A. in Mexican-American Studies in preparation as an educator. I began my secondary teaching career at Escuela Tlatelolco in Denver before earning a M.A. in Education and Human Development from the University of Colorado Denver. My social justice journey led me into higher education access work to increase the pipelines of diverse students entering and graduating from college. I enjoy sharing experiences with others and taking advantage of every opportunity to learn from those who are willing to share their wisdom, especially elders. I whole-heartedly believe that every human being has potential for greatness, and my purpose in life is to encourage others to embrace their strengths while overcoming fears, self-doubt, and other challenges. As someone who identifies as Chicana, it is important for me to challenge the concepts of borders and barriers within society. Throughout the years, I have shared my enthusiasm and passion for higher education through my professional work with the Denver Transfer Initiative, Pre-Collegiate Development Programs, and Scholars Program at University of Colorado Denver; TRIO Student Support Services at Colorado Mesa University; Excel Program and Center for Urban Education at Metropolitan State University of Denver; TRIO Upward Bound at Front Range Community College; and as a board member of INSPiRE. I recently returned to the western slope to serve as the West Central Director of the Colorado Migrant Education Program.

What is exciting about my job? I am blessed to be able to share my experiences and passion with a team committed to equity and compassion. I am honored to lead efforts that welcome, encourage, and support Colorado migrant families and students with navigating educational and health resources while also lifting messages of hope for humanity in the larger community. My grandmother used to work with migrant families in Grand Junction and unfortunately passed away when I was a teenager. It feels as if the universe reconnected me with her spirit to be able to return to the western slope and expand upon her legacy. Words from a consejero/a: We are all related. We are unique human beings that come with our own set of instructions for growth. Self-awareness, self-love, self-care, and self-advocacy are essential components of empowerment. Never underestimate personal power.

Advice you would give a new superintendent or school leader: Representation matters. It is important that we have diverse leaders in positions that impact school access and cultures. We must continue to celebrate differences in order to create more equitable environments and systems.

If you catch me outside the office, you’ll find . . . me engaging with family and friends, attending community cultural events, enjoying nature, traveling, socializing, networking, exploring various cuisines, dancing to live music, and driving through the Rocky Mountains to maintain connections across Colorado. How does CO-ALAS add value? As a newly recruited member, I know the power of networking and connecting with other professionals from diverse backgrounds. Collectively, it is important for us as educators and leaders to collaborate and support one another with navigating larger systems to impact change and the educational attainment of our communities.


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