By Analisa Sofia Perez
Since he was a sophomore in high school in 2007, Ethnic Studies and Human Rights teacher Angel Barragan has been dutifully involved with Summit Public Schools. After over a decade of work within the SPS system, Mr. Barragan will be promoted from teacher to dean for the upcoming 2020-21 school year.
Following his graduation from Summit Prep in 2010, he went on to attend college. His graduation from college eventually led him back to Summit, where he was offered a job as the Spanish teacher for the Rainier campus in East Side San Jose.
He spent the next four years at Rainier, where he was assigned a mentor group. He speaks fondly of them: “My mentor group was probably the greatest thing that came out of working at Summit,” he said. “I just love my mentor group so much. I still talk to them whenever I can.”
However, Mr. Barragan shared that once his mentor group graduated, he “wasn’t sure what to do.”
He said, “Then I got this opportunity to teach my dream job, pretty much, which is teaching Ethnic Studies,” Mr. Barragan also explained how teaching Ethnic Studies is important to him in order to expose important messages to students: “I want to fight for social justice and for the equity and equality of people of color across the board.”
This mission is one that Mr. Barragan has made sure to get through to his students.
Rainier senior Paloma Garcia offers the perspective of being his intern and having been impacted by Mr. Barragan’s teaching.
Garcia said, “He really knows the audience that he’s teaching. He gets to know every single person.” She expressed how she’s learned several lessons about equality and acceptance from him. “Everyone deserves to feel welcomed in a community. Like, everyone deserves to have a voice and use that voice to do good in a community.”
Garcia is not alone in this sentiment. Human Sexuality teacher Rebecca Breuer expressed her excitement and positivity towards Mr. Barragan being promoted.
Ms. Breuer said, “I think he will do a fantastic job as a Dean. Mr. Barragan cares a great deal about students and staff and will be an advocate for both. He is supportive, professional, and will hold everyone accountable to high standards.”
This feeling is also reflected by Intro to Video Production and Screenwriting 101 teacher Vince Nelson. He shared his thoughts about the positive habits he believes Mr. Barragan will bring to his new role, “I’m also very happy to see, you know, just some more love and joy and inspiration on the team in a position of the admin role, which I think is gonna be awesome. So, yeah, no I’m super happy about it.”
When asked about what he is hoping to achieve in the position of dean, Mr. Barragan said that he wants to reflect the ideals he has and advocate for equality and social justice across the SPS system.
“I’m hoping to be able to keep a lot of the same attitudes that I hold as the Ethnic Studies and Human Rights teacher, which is the complete fight for social justice in general,“ he said. “I hold this idea of being able to help our people be able to rise up and to be able to have access to all of the opportunities that they should really have.”
Though it may be difficult for many to see Mr. Barragan depart from his teaching role, it is clear that both his students and fellow faculty members foresee a bright future for him as dean.
As best said by Mr. Nelson, “He will be missed as a teacher, but he’ll be appreciated as a dean.”