2021 40 Under 40 Honoree: Angelique Drakeford
“The moment I stepped into the classroom, I felt like this is what I’m supposed to do.”
Angelique Drakeford graduated college with a degree in social work, but when she took a teaching assistant job at Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School, she knew she was home.
“The moment I stepped into the classroom, I felt like this is what I’m supposed to do,” she says.
Within a year, Drakeford went back to school, obtaining her teaching certification and her master’s degree in education. After she took over a tough third-grade classroom, Drakeford says her students made a tremendous leap in state test scores, showing the achievement gap between Black and white students could be closed.
“I just wanted my kids to excel,” the mom of two says.
When the former principal retired, Drakeford, by then a school leader, was a top choice for the position.
Under her leadership, Urban Academy has received recognition as a Title I school for making significant educational growth. This fall, Drakeford — who helped found the State of Black Learning Planning Committee — will complete her doctorate and then plans to start an educational consulting firm.