Col. Michelle M. Hernández de Fraley
Class: Alumni, Class of 1980
Occupation: Superintendent of the Puerto Rico Police
Robinson School is very proud to announce that alumna Col. Michelle Hernández de Fraley (’80) was the first woman to be appointed Police Superintendent in Puerto Rico last week! (Watch the video here.)
This is one of many “firsts” for Col. Hernández de Fraley. In 1984, she was also the first woman from Puerto Rico to graduate from the U.S. Army’s prestigious West Point military academy. At Robinson, she graduated first in her class as Valedictorian of the Class of 1980. (Please see our first profile of her in 2014 here and in our Alumni Newsletter.) Robinson School is proud to have been one of her first steps step on the road to so many “firsts” for women in Puerto Rico!
Last week, Col. Hernández de Fraley took time out of her busy schedule to share her thoughts on how a Robinson education helped develop three of the most crucial elements for her success: leadership, determination and perseverance.
“Although moving to Robinson School was a big challenge for me due to my poor English-language skills, Robinson School provided a learning environment that invigorated my leadership, determination and perseverance skills,” she stated.
By graduating as Valedictorian in 1980, she demonstrated to herself, her classmates and future Robinson students that nothing is impossible with discipline and hard work. Add to that her years of dedicated service and the Robinson School’s mission to “not only ensure student success today, but also the stability and future of Puerto Rico” and any place where Robinson alumni lead by their example comes shining through.
In early 2014, Col. Hernández Fraley and her husband, Mr. Tom Fraley, moved to Puerto Rico after she retired from a distinguished 30-year career in the United States Army. Soon after, she became an active member of Robinson’s Board of Trustees, helping address security issues on and around the campus. At the same time, she was tapped by the Police Superintendent at the time, James Tuller Cintrón, as his Special Assistant to lead the Strategic Initiative Group in developing a strategic overhaul of the entire Puerto Rico police force. She was then appointed as Director of the Puerto Rico Police Academy to develop a well-educated and well-trained force with the skills and tools necessary to effectively protect and serve Puerto Rico. In addition, she introduced initiatives to heal and cultivate positive relations between the community and the police force. (All of this, AFTER retiring!)
Her appointment crosses political party lines and serves as a unifying force in efforts to make Puerto Rico a safer society and more attractive destination. Even Gov. Alejandro García, who worked with Col. Hernández during his administration, congratulated her on this historic appointment! Her amazing work in such treacherous terrain demonstrates another important element of a Robinson education: making connections, overcoming differences for the greater good, and serving the community. Join us (and all of Puerto Rico) in congratulating Col. Fraley de Hernández on this singular achievement!