Angela Palacios, Ed.D
Spanish High School Teacher
Dr. Angela Palacios has spent 10 years teaching Spanish with Phoenix Union High School District, where she began her teaching career at Cesar Chavez High School. In addition to teaching, she has spent time mentoring teachers in and out of the classroom. She also spent one year as a Curriculum and Instructional Coach for an elementary school in Phoenix. She has served as a trainer and facilitator for the implementation of professional learning communities, curriculum and instruction, and Freshman House Academy within her school. She is currently serving on South Mountain High School’s Open House Committee, Multicultural Committee, and Graduation Committee. She also has the privilege to call out the names at the graduation ceremony. Dr. Palacios was recently selected to participate in the year three pilot of the Teacher Leadership Initiative (TLI), a joint endeavor of the National Education Association (NEA), the Center for Teaching Quality (CTQ), and The National Board for Professional Teaching Standards (National Board). She also participates as part of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative which convenes leaders and stakeholders from around the country to work together to form integrated strategies to help every young person find their way to class every day.
Dr. Palacios holds a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications with a minor in Spanish from the Sul Ross State University of Texas. She earned her certification as a 6-12 Spanish Teacher at the University of Mississippi and then returned to the Arizona State University to earn her Master’s in Secondary Education and most recently completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Administration also from Arizona State University where she conducted a study highlighting the challenges of five DREAMers and strategies they used to overcome those challenges. As the daughter of immigrants, Dr. Palacios is aware of the sacrifices and contributions of immigrants. She can also relate very well to challenges of obtaining a higher education on many levels.
Why do you teach?
As an educator, I strive to develop leaders that are critical thinkers and problem solvers who develop a sense of responsibility to change their own lives and that of their families and communities. I teach because it’s the best way to affect social change. There’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing student transformations in and out of the classroom. I make every effort to teach with corazón because once you win the students’ hearts, you can equip their brain with vast knowledge.
What do you love about teaching?
Here is a video made by students that includes students and colleagues acknowledging my doctoral degree. I made it against all odds. I am now part of the 1% of the world with a doctorate degree. I am part of the .5% because I am Mexican, a woman, and also a single mom. In addition, I am proud to be part of the 8% of Latina teachers that many articles talk about. This video makes me very proud of my accomplishments. I strive to be a positive role model and it brings me to tears every time I watch it. To empower students and hear from their own mouths that I made a difference is priceless. They are the reason I love teaching!
When you were a student, was there a great teacher who inspired you?
There are many teachers that helped me along the way. My biggest supporter and mentor, however, was Mrs. Stapleton, my high school Spanish teacher. She always provided opportunities for growth, resources, and constantly reminded me of my potential. Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t have gone to college. Current teachers like Bolivia Gaytan, Debbie Kunes, and Carla Flores always keep me grounded, inspired, and help me keep perspective on what is important in life.