New Jersey State Teacher of the Year on How Educators Can Bring Greater Equity to the Classroom

By Angel Santiago

For Angel Santiago, the 2020-2021 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year, learning expands well beyond the simple exchange of knowledge between teacher and student in the classroom. Santiago describes how, from his vantage point, learning has the potential to be the great equalizer of our society and provides his take on the question: how do we make access to learning available for every student, no matter their personal, societal or academic background?

The lessons learned from his own education journey and his experience as a fifth grade language arts teacher in New Jersey have shaped Santiago’s view on how to achieve equal access to education for all learners, as well as what an equitable learning journey really means when applied to classroom learning environments. Santiago digs into the barriers he faced and overcame as a student, why educators need to first take a critical look at their own biases to best represent their students and how equitable learning journeys can open the door to what’s possible for disenfranchised learners, their families and surrounding communities.