As a math teacher in the Houston Independent School District, Max Akuamoah-Boateng ’09 kept a stash of apples and extra food from the cafeteria, and even bought food for students who were hungry. As a high school soccer coach, he’d encounter players who missed school to find work or whose families were at risk of becoming homeless. Barriers to education were standing in the way of their success.
Akuamoah-Boateng turned to the community, looking for people to help meet students’ needs. He soon moved into a job developing Houston’s Wraparound Services Department, which connects families with community services and support. For the past year, he’s been director of operations for community schools in the Philadelphia Mayor’s Office of Education. “It’s rethinking the way we do schools, how we connect resources and services, to ensure the wellbeing of all students,” he explains.
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The best part of his job? Watching students progress from struggling to successful.
“They feel safe, they feel healthy, they feel like they are part of a community that cares about them, so they are proud to say, ‘This is my city, this is where I come from, this is a city that took care of me,’” Akuamoah-Boateng says. “Knowing that we, as a city department, are making that possible for young people is so inspirational.”