Born to a large, multiracial family, Monique developed an interest in identity from a young age, especially the ways in which we define ourselves and how we view others. Raised in the desert of southern California, Monique and her three sisters were first generation college students. As an undergraduate at University of California, Santa Barbara, Monique researched and developed a Senior Thesis that focused on Belize – her mother’s home country – and the roles that race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality play in forming society and individual experience. Upon graduating, she joined Teach for America to become a classroom teacher in New York City. Throughout her educational career, Monique has worked with both the lowest and the highest socio-economic populations of New York, including public schools in Harlem, an independent school in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and non-profit organizations that provide educational and artistic resources to students across the city. Having experienced the incredibly diverse educational and cultural realities that can exist within a single square mile, Monique believes that the keys to success are equal access and opportunity, and taking the time to celebrate our differences, while also recognizing our similarities.

After a decade in the classroom, Monique launched her own private education business, where she continues to work with students and consults with families. She joined Pollyanna to have a greater impact on school communities in New York City and across the country. A passionate storyteller, Monique has recently written a young adult novel about a low-income, multiracial, gay teenager who must overcome an array of obstacles in order to fulfill her dreams. This is, perhaps, Monique’s most personal lesson of all.