Manuel Hernandez

About Manuel Hernandez

Manuel Hernandez was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1963. His upbringing was as diverse as his professional experience. He completed his grade school experience in New York, and his parents moved back to their homeland in 1974. From 1974, his lifetime experience has been a revolving door experience between the Island of Puerto Rico and New York City. He completed high school in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico in a school called Pedro Falu. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus in 1986 and finished a Master’s in Education from Herbert H. Lehman College (CUNY) in the Bronx, New York in 1994. 

In 1988, he was hired as an ESL teacher in The Bronx.  As an ESL teacher in New York City, educator and author Manuel Hernandez saw that multicultural students wanted to learn, but classroom materials weren’t relatable to their own cultural experiences. Hernandez learned of the significant difference in the classroom when culturally relevant materials were introduced into the learning experience and how we all can benefit.   

But “after an intensive month of ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ he understood that he had a major predicament in his hands. Determined to bridge that gap, Hernández discovered the power of authentic and meaningful relevant literature, which constructed bridges of understanding to teach his students to learn English, stay in school and pass citywide exams at the same time. 

Fast-forward 2014, purpose called him to come to Central Florida and use his thirty-year teaching experience to facilitate language learning and get immigrant teens college and career ready. As the migration shift moved towards Central Florida, he knew he could use his initial teaching experience and “jumpstart” their academic experience. Florida had other demands, but it was a revolving door experience that had him “flashbacking” to NYC. After several years in Florida, he has been able to help open the academic doors that had been shut for many of the recently arrived. 

He founded and created an educational program called Coming to America. Coming to America published its 3rd edition in March of 2019 and its first-ever bilingual edition in March of 2020. The Coming to America book is a collection of unique memoirs which depicted the journey of Latino teens who arrived with hopes, dreams, and uncertainties in their particular and distinct young voices. 
In 2014, Hernandez participated in a TedxTalk (Connections) at Southern New Hampshire University. After six years, Coming to America has transformed into Every Child Coming to America, and the program that started in a local high school in Central Florida has continued its growth outside of the school community and has the potential to impact school communities outside of the limitations of the school boundaries in which it was created.

He is the author of four books, Latino/a Literature in the English Classroom (Editorial Plaza Mayor, 2003), The Birth of a Rican (Divine Purpose Publishing, 2021), the Coming to America series (four books, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020, (Divine Purpose Publishing) and Living the Kingdom with purpose (English and Spanish) (Divine Purpose Publishing, 2017).  He is the father of two boys, one, an adult, Jose Manuel (Joey), and Josue Esteban, a young teenage adult. He has been married for more than thirty-five years to Maria Ortiz Rodriguez.

Manuel’s books are available on Amazon, and everywhere books are sold online.