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Former Rochester student announces school board candidacy

A recent graduate of the Rochester city school district says he plans to run for elected office this year.

provided by Isaiah Santiago
Isaiah Santiago announced his candidacy for city school board this week.

School of the Arts graduate Isaiah Santiago announced his campaign for school board commissioner this week.

“This is a statement from the younger generation that we're ready to see change,” Santiago said. “This is going to encourage young people for the next few years to be in community and local politics."

The 18-year-old is currently a first-year political science student at St. John Fisher University. He says his experience as a recent city school student, and the connections he’s made, would be valuable for school board leadership.

"I definitely want to use that understanding to really bring to the board new insight, new ideas, and a real connection with our parents and teachers,” Santiago said.

As a high school student at School of the Arts, he worked to create a mental health literacy curriculum for the district. Santiago graduated last June about the same time he was named Monroe County’s Young Citizen of the Year.

Santiago says as a middle schooler he saw how policies around suspensions could lead to further problems instead of solutions.

He says with the knowledge he’s gained from his insights and experiences, he wants to create meaningful change.

“We are failing too many generations as a school district,” he said. “The next generation of Rochester, New York, and New York state, is fostered by the school districts that have raised them up. And if we're not doing right in our school district, like RCSD hasn't, we start to see that reflected in our community.”

Four seats are up for election on the city school board this year. Those seats are currently held by Vice President Beatriz LeBron, Commissioners Ricardo Adams, Amy Malloy, and Willa Powell.

Noelle E. C. Evans is an education reporter/producer with a background in documentary filmmaking and education.