NJEA REVIEW: Angel Santiago 2020 21 New Jersey State Teacher of the Year

Meet Angel Santiago New Jersey’s Rock ‘N’ Roll State Teacher of the Year
By Kathryn Coulibaly

On the first day of his teaching career eight years ago, and every first day of school since, Angel Santiago greets his fifth-grade students in a classroom decorated with posters of musical legends: Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin, Clive Davis, Nikki Minaj, and the band Days Like These.

If you haven’t heard of Days Like These, then you clearly missed the late ‘90s, early 2000s music scene in the southern New Jersey and greater Philadelphia area. Days Like These was Santiago’s band; he was the lead singer. He and his bandmates signed a recording contract, put out two albums, and toured for years before deciding to move on to other interests.

For a lot of people, that moving on part is difficult. Who wouldn’t give their chance at a rock ‘n’ roll career everything they had? But for Santiago, another calling beckoned him, one that had been instilled in him as a sixth grader growing up in Vineland by a very influential teacher, Mark Melamed.

“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Santiago remembers. “I had great teachers throughout my entire public school career. I came up through the Vineland Public School system, and I had teachers such as Mark Melamed who founded the Gabriel Project in Vineland. He guided me, without my even knowing, into a career that was kind of made for me.”

This is an excerpt from Kathryn Coulibaly’s article at njea.org.
Read the full article at www.njea.org/njstoyangelsantiago/

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