Angela was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to southern Maine at an early age. It was here that she first encountered racism, in both big and little ways, in a community where she was one of the only multiracial children at a time when school integration was just beginning.
“There was a lot of impostor syndrome growing up, during a time when I was taught that assimilation was the key to success. So I learned to speak English without a Spanish accent so much that I forgot my Spanish. I took French and Latin instead. I wanted to disappear into whiteness as much as I could. Well, guess what? Because of my skin and hair, I never could,” Angela says. “But what I thought were ‘deficits’ when I was younger, I realized, as I grew up, were actually assets. My ancestry and heritage is a great sense of pride, resilience, and wisdom. These things helped me learn to be observant, be resilient, and be self-sufficient in many ways. I took those feelings of ‘otherness’ as a personal challenge to craft the fullest life that I wanted. I wanted a life of creativity and to experience the world to its fullest. And so I did.”
After graduating from the University of Maine with a degree in international and global studies, Angela began a jet-setting career at familiar, multi-billion dollar corporations like L.L. Bean; 1-800-Flowers.com, Inc.; and Garnet Hill/HSNi. “I did what I wanted to do while building a life for my family. I’ve been to 27 different countries. I’ve held executive positions in some wonderful companies with relationships all over the world. And I did all that against a lot of odds,” she says.
Angela also had two children of her own. “I wanted to be the parent who fulfilled the promise and gave their kids the opportunities that maybe I had to fight for that weren’t quite as accessible to me. And also, for both my kids, who are also multiracial, to instill a strong sense of self and opportunity, no matter what,” she explains. “I sent my son to NYU so that he could reach his dream of being an actor. And he is a thriving actor now, which is really gratifying for me because I feel like, in some way, he kind of broke the family karma. My daughter is thriving and building a family in the Netherlands, adding even more dimension to our global family.”
Right: Angela and her daughter, Maria, in Santurce, Puerto Rico, early 90s.
Creating and Finding Arrival
Angela has lived in Sugar Hill, just a short drive from White Mountain, for over 12 years. “I used to drive past the School thinking, ‘I wonder what's going on in there. I wonder if I should check that out.’ I just had kind of this gut feeling that I belonged at the School,” she recalls. In early 2020, she interviewed for the director of equity and inclusion position and got her first chance to do what she had thought about doing for so many years.
“I fell in love with the kids immediately. I had a lunchtime session where I needed to facilitate a discussion around what otherness felt like and how we dealt with it. The students were ‘woke,’ present, and really showed up for the discussion. I was impressed with the caliber of talent and intelligence and creativity of the faculty and staff, too,” she says. “The entire interview process and that conversation with the kids especially just underscored how special the School is, and I knew I wanted to be involved. Even though I had a sense that I might not be the first pick for that specific role when I first applied because I was coming from a non-traditional background, I really just wanted to start the conversation."