Change Chose Me

Merlyna Valentine retired after 30 years as a teacher, principal, and executive director in an extraordinarily successful school district in Louisiana. Her transformational leadership as a school principal enhanced the school’s climate and culture, resulting in increased student achievement.

Valentine has received numerous state, national, and international awards, as well as commendations such as teacher of the year and principal of the year. She was featured in several news segments and articles including a spotlight in Ebony Magazine. Audiences were captivated by her inspirational story of survival, courage, and hope when she was a featured segment on The Today Show. She was recently chosen as the 2020 Inspirational Speaker of the Year in an international competition.

In the face of tragedy and daunting obstacles, Valentine unleashed a remarkable inner strength that enabled her to lead by example. She has learned some valuable lessons since 2007, when her life as she knew it was forever changed and she experienced the closest call to death imaginable. Instead of focusing on what happened and what’s missing from her new life, she chooses to embrace this very different path with a positive attitude. Today, she personifies what it means to ascend above adversity while inspiring countless others to do the same.