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El Mundo Boston 2018.

ANTONELLI MEJIA

Founder, Herramientas Del Saber

Age: 28

Heritage: Dominican 

 

Notable Accomplishments:

  • School Management & Leadership Program, Harvard University 

  • The Collective Board Member, Teach For America

  • Lynch Leadership Academy Fellow, Boston College 

  • Aspiring Latino Leaders Fellow, Latinos For Education 

  • Nuestros Maestros  National Campaign Representative, Univision 

  • Sontag Prize of Urban Education Recipient 

 

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Antonelli always knew that he wanted to commit his life to help others, and the value of education was instilled in him at an early age. As a rising high school senior in Santo Domingo, his family made a difficult but necessary choice- to emigrate to the United States in the pursuit of opportunity. After enrolling in Boston Public Schools, without the ability to read or speak English, Antonelli was determined to overcome the challenges of learning a second language. Antonelli went on to graduate from high school and college and worked as a teacher, community coordinator, and a counselor. Having worked in the public and charter school systems, Antonelli has a history of supporting students and families, particularly those who are recent immigrants to the country and are facing language barriers.

 

Antonelli has collaborated on different projects with nonprofit organizations such as Educators For Excellence, where he co-wrote a research paper titled “Schools That Heal,” a research document that proposed policy recommendations to support the social and emotional well-being of students in all schools. Additionally, Antonelli was selected as one of three educators in the United States to participate in Univision’s national campaign Nuestros Maestrosto tell his story and inspire others Latinos to be leaders in education. 

 

Last year, he participated in the Aspiring Latino Leaders Fellowship and published an article titled “The Struggle of Representation:Reflecting on our Latinidad through the Walls of Acculturation and Self-Esteem.” In this article, he narrates his story by exploring the challenges of the existing gap in educational leadership in the Latino community. As a young leader, Antonelli understands the importance of representation and wants the Latino voice to be heard when it comes to making decisions about access to equitable education for all children. Currently, he is the only Latino in the Lynch Leadership Academy program this year and he hopes to inspire others Latinos to become leaders in the education field. 

 

In addition to his passion for working with students and families, Antonelli is also the co-founder of  Herramientas Del Saber, a nonprofit that works to promote and cultivate the love for education in the Dominican Republic. For the past several years, the organization has served nearly 500 children in underserved communities by providing school supplies and programs. Antonelli and the co-founder, Ruth Cornelio, invest in the time and resources to break generational cycles of poverty and ensure Dominican children have the chance to succeed.