Greetings to our Monument Academy Community,

I wish to take this opportunity to wish all our Veterans a happy and blessed Veterans Day. Thank you for your service and the sacrifices you made to faithfully and honorably serve our country.

When I thought about the words I wanted to share with our community to mark this day, I thought about Monument Academy’s Veterans Day celebration a year ago. This celebration marked my first week of being hired and joining MA; the vibrant, courageous community of people I have found here.  I spoke to you for the first time since my appointment at this event and I would like to share this speech with you again…it is enclosed below.  As I sit in my office listening to the notes our students are so talentedly playing in band class, as the music dances through our hallways and offices, I find the words and the hopes for our children and this next generation spoken from this speech a year ago today, especially poignant.  Our students bring hope and optimism each day they step through our doors and I am grateful to you and for you, and for our team of educators and staff. They care so deeply for your children and want to ensure they receive an education that will serve them well so they will be a light unto our world.

 

November 11, 2019:

“Good morning Monument Academy Community and good morning to our Veterans,

This month marks a significant time for all Americans, —Election Day illustrates to our children how the U.S. Constitution works and Veterans Day permits us to honor the military men and women comprising this nation’s active duty, reserve, and retired veterans. I am greatly honored to participate in Monument Academy’s Veterans Day Celebration this morning and I thank the veterans in our community for their service. My husband and father are both retired military aviators, and my brother has served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan; therefore, Veterans Day will always have a special place in my heart.  I have witnessed the true sacrifice our veteran’s service to country demands and am humbled and honored at the courage and heroism they demonstrate daily.  Thank you. We, in no small measure, owe our freedom to all veterans in the past and those who are actively serving.

This also marks a significant week as I am greatly honored to have been selected to serve as the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer. I am proud to partner with our students, educators, families, and community to ensure we achieve Monument Academy’s mission. This mission is to provide an education that will produce students who learn from the past, value the present, and are equipped for the future. I am deeply committed to this charge and excited to learn more about how this mission is being exemplified at Monument Academy and how it has impacted students for life and prosperity for the past two decades.

Our students face unique challenges; every generation of teens is influenced by the social, political, and economic events of the day.  Our teens are no different. Yet, there seems to be a persistent attack on our children that goes beyond a true concern for the lasting impact of social media and mobile technology on a generation of children who do not remember a time before Instagram or the internet.  I find that as an educator, it has become increasingly important to be diligent in safeguarding our students from controversial and ineffective methods that have infiltrated public education. I am most concerned about methods that are destructive to creativity, hope, and freedom of the human spirit. I am a leader dedicated to educating well and protecting our students. I will work with the appropriate experts, our capable leadership and staff, and the community to ensure that these destructive elements do not enter into and erode Monument Academy’s educational programs. I will go to battle for your children and at times I will ask you to join me as we fight to ensure our students receive the best possible education so that our children might inherit a better world. 

I have accepted the position as Chief Operating Officer at a time of program growth and have accepted the charge of working to strengthen the current program and to establish an upper school that will fulfill the powerful work started with MA’s students from pre-school through eighth grades. This is a great and providential time to be part of the Monument Academy community and I fully embrace this opportunity to lead and to serve in an honorable fashion, holding integrity and transparency as my top priority. 

This room is filled with leaders who demonstrate this kind of honorable leadership.                                                                 

LEADERSHIP as defined by Webster’s Dictionary 1. Serving as a model 2. worthy of imitation, commendable:

“Great leadership is humble.  It strives to “be care takers of others under your care, serving as overseers not because you must, but because you are willing: not greedy for money, but eager to serve; not in love with power, but being an example.”

Today we are defining great leadership as those who are willing to sacrifice for others.  Today we honor those who have been willing to make the greatest of sacrifices to safeguard and save the lives of others.

I’d like to share the following account of December 19, 1777: George Washington marched into Valley Forge after several defeats, and morale was at the lowest point. America might have conceded defeat except for one man, General George Washington.  One man held out against tyranny.  One man defended freedom.  One man saved what was to become our great nation.

And, like a single spark in the night, one man spread the fires of freedom across the world.  I am not just telling you about George Washington because this is a school.  I am telling you about George Washington because this is a school that honors the past so that we might be informed in our future.  I mention our forefather because had he given up when things looked impossibly difficult, this country would be a very different place.  Typically, when people discuss heroes, they imagine comic books, or action movies with larger than life superheroes with super powers.  But the heroes I am talking about today, these inextinguishable catalysts of light, these ordinary human beings like George Washington exist around us.  They fill this room today, and we thank and honor you, for the undeniable sacrifice you have made, for the courage to make our world brighter.  Thank you. We are grateful.”

 

With respect & gratitude,

Christianna Herrera

Chief Operating Officer