DC high school teacher selected as Amazon Teacher of the Year

Amazon has named a Washington D.C. computer science teacher a 2021 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year.

Selected as one of 10 winners among thousands of eligible educators, Aris Pangilinan will receive a prize package valued at more than $30,000, which includes $25,000 to expand computer science education at Cardozo Education Campus and $5,000 teacher cash award.

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Recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, including their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students. 

"It goes without saying that the name Mr. Pangilinan is synonymous with words such as compassion — and passion— generosity, professionalism, STEM, but most importantly, student-centered learning," said Cardozo Education Center principal Arthur Mola. "I cannot imagine our engineering program without his presence and contributions."

Known as "Mr. P," Pangilinan grew up in the Philippines with 11 brothers and sisters. He is an immigrant, an English Language Learner, a first-generation college graduate and was a working student who worked full-time during the day and studied at night.

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After receiving his Master of Arts in Educational Management with Measurement, Evaluation, & Testing, he chose to send his younger siblings to college instead of pursuing a doctorate.

For the last 18 years, Pangilinan has worked in D.C. Public Schools, teaching AP Calculus, Computer Science and Pre-Engineering.

He uses a flipped-classroom approach and project-based learning and has developed a variety of pedagogical strategies and teaching styles to engage especially his less accomplished students in underserved communities.

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Under his tutelage, his students have won numerous STEM competitions, received paid internships, led several student-centered initiatives, and performed numerous community services. They have also scored well in college credit exams and have been accepted in prestigious universities with full-ride scholarships.