LifeChanger of the Year Nominee Profile

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Samuel Agyarko

Position: Computer Science Teacher
School: Thornwood High School
School District: Thornton Township High School District 205
City, State: South Holland, IL

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Samuel Agyarko was nominated by his friend, Monica Harris.

Why's Mr. Agyarko a LifeChanger?

  • He's the Executive Director/ Director of Curriculum & Programming for The A-Team Educational Consulting with RTI (now known as MTSS).  MTSS offers a host of workshops in STEM, Financial Literacy, Political Science and Entrepreneurship.
  • He's a tenured Computer Science teacher at the secondary level with Thornwood High School in District 205. 
  • He's the author of The Simplicity of Greatness.

Most importantly, Mr. Agyarko understands the importance of culturally responsive efforts to engage students. He accepted the charge to expedite the development of young men and young women. It is his hope to create thought provoking, conscious conversation for the masses by building leaders. His book, The Simplicity of Greatness, is filled with maxims to help students navigate their lives, manage the personalities they encounter, and turn themselves into the resources they need.

"It was inspired by the conversations that I had with students in the 13 years I have been a black male teacher. There are only 2% of us," said Agyarko. "I wanted to be accessible. I have a placement in the library and the Restorative Justice (MTSS) program at the very school I teach at. I would like to discuss how I could have my book attached to Restorative Justice and Mentoring programs, and I am already having this conversation with the Juvenile Detention Center, Department of Corrections, and mentoring groups."

"I've known Sam since kindergarten.  He is everything that he represents himself to be," said Harris.

Comments (40)

Anonymous Posted over a year ago

A great teacher and very altruistic.

Nick L. Posted over a year ago

My favorite teacher!

Brit' Cade Posted over a year ago

An extremely dedicated teacher to his students that makes sure they are succeeding within their academics and life overall.

Keimanie R Posted over a year ago

He was a great teacher !

Malik leaks Posted over a year ago

The man is a great leader , coach , mentor, and Genuine person that cares about the students.

Ja'Von Hall Posted over a year ago

Mr. Agyarko is a great man and he represents himself well.He also works very hard at his job.

DeMarco M. Posted over a year ago

I'm voting for Mr Agyarko.

Veronica M. Posted over a year ago

What an outstanding, smart, intelligent, dedicated young man to have the honor of working with for nearly a decade.

Khadijah Bradford Posted over a year ago

I have worked i education for over 10 and I have not yet met a teacher more dedicated to this profession than Samuel Agyarko. His commitment to his craft is exceptional. His dedication to his students is unmatched. Lastly, the life-lasting impressions he leaves on his students his priceless. He is a change agent and an advocate for all students. The world is better because of him.

Richard Coleman Posted over a year ago

Couldn’t nominate a better person for this. He deeply cares about the youth of the Chicagoland area. Why not reward greatness...?

Chuk Chukudebelu Posted over a year ago

I've known Samuel Agyarko for over 20 years and I'd like to express complete support of this nomination. It's clear that he has found his calling and passion working to educate and inspire the youth. He does it in a tireless and selfless manner all for the benefit of his students, and is absolutely deserving of this recognition.

Aja Parker Posted over a year ago

From high school to work colleague, you are amazing! I wish you all the success, happiness, wealth, love, peace, and...awards :-)

Yolanda R. Posted over a year ago

An accomplished life worth supporting and honoring! It is with great reverence that I echo the sentiments of others of how deserving Samuel Agyarko is of the Life Changer of the year nomination. I have known him for a few years now and in our initial conversations and all of those to follow, it immediately became apparent of what a phenomenal and socially responsive educator he is. I also found that he’s not only a mentor to those he instructs but has evolved to that of a Life-Coach to many former students as they have transitioned into adulthood. He has a way of meeting students where they are yet, challenging them to move beyond the narrative that society wants to write out for them. It is a great source of pride not only knowing him but to witness what he is to those he serves and how he positively influences the young people he interacts with daily. Sam is the embodiment of valor and strength. What I admire most is his forward thinking and willingness to challenge the status quo. His confidence is often mistaken for arrogance, but I must confess, while his display of leadership can be somewhat intimidating, it challenges me not only in how I lead and encourage those around me, but also how well I do the same for my own children. He has earned his place as not only as a nominee but a recipient. “Those who identify where their passions lie, use their energies towards mastery of concepts that increases the confidence to walk within their purpose.” Mr. Samuel Agyarko

Selonge Neely Posted over a year ago

Some are born to be mediocre, to fly under the radar, to just exist... Then, there is Samuel Agyarko. It was his destiny to inspire, to teach, to stand up, to stand out, to be an example, to set standards, to change the game. Students thrive because of him. Teachers are greater standing together with him. Schools are better thanks to him. I am glad to know him!

Ansel Collins Posted over a year ago

I'd like to express my support for Samuel Agyarko. Sam possesses an undeniable passion for the education and nurturing of our children. Whether it's through his efforts as a teacher, author or member of the community, its obvious that Sam has made an amazing impact on the lives of our young men and women.

Megan Thornsbury Posted over a year ago

Sam has a way of pushing you to believe in yourself and broaden your prospective. I value his integrity as well as his passion for education and personal development. Sam truly is a life changer and to know him is an honor.

Aileen Baker Posted over a year ago

Mr Agyarko is truly deserving of this Life Changer Award. He consistently makes himself accessible to his students for advice. Moreover, he leads by example and uses his own life experiences to guide his students to be the best that they can be and to not settle for mediocrity. The students recognize his genuine interest in supporting them and so they always seek him out.

Denise B. Posted over a year ago

When you love what do and have the ability to connect with your students, not only are you making a positive impact but you're creating opportunities. This is what Sam Agyarko does, and his efforts are inspiring.

Rob Ingram Posted over a year ago

I would definitely ask everyone who has had the privilege to know Sam to help recognize Sam. Sam has influenced the youth and peers throughout his service. Sam has been a beacon of light through his non for profit and his book. Vote for Sam.

Anthony Bailey Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Sam for over 30 years and he has always made education a priority in his life. It’s only natural he would help instill those same principles in our youth. He’s extremely passionate about what he does and I look forward to the continued impact he has on the younger generation.

RoGina Montgomery Posted over a year ago

His tireless pursuit of educating and helping kids is inspiring. He does this with his own funds and with the time he has on his busy schedule as an educator and a mentor.

Rochelle Howell Posted over a year ago

I am so proud of the work Sam is doing for the youth. He meets them where they are so that he can make a genuine connection and then support them as they do the work to grow, expand, and improve themselves and their community. Fantastic passion Sam!

Tiffany Coleman Posted over a year ago

I would like to vote for Sam

TERRELL MATTHEWS Posted over a year ago

My Brother you inspire me to build better relationships with great Men in a world where society has a way of making us think we have to compete with one another....I admire you ????

DAVID HARVEY Posted over a year ago

I’d like to give Mr Samuel Agyarko recognition for being an educator who thinks beyond the task. Samuel knows the benefits of providing his students and community insight On opportunities to learn constantly and constructively. Not only does he educate his students Sam knows how important it is to make sure his students and colleagues feel empowered and confident with the knowledge they’re learning from each other as well.

Brenda Pious Posted over a year ago

Keep up the great work!

Charmaine Gibson Posted over a year ago

I have known Sam four years and within those four years,I have witnessed his drive and passion for what he does for the children. He isn't biased in his guidance as I've witnessed testimonies from young adults of how he pushed them to be all they can be and they've never set foot in his classroom as a student. It shows his contributions are reaching far beyond the four walls of his classroom. That's nothing short of inspiring.

Keisha Williams Posted over a year ago

While my child isn’t one of your students I have seen the work that you’re doing with other kids and I think you’re doing an amazing job.

Charles Pinkston Posted over a year ago

Between the school fairs, coding program and book you authored you have absolutely been one of the men our culture needs. Appreciate what you do bro

Lynda Mangum Posted over a year ago

An inspiration to his community and a great role model for everyone.

Denise B. Posted over a year ago

When you love what you do and possess the ability to connect with your students you're not only making an impact, but creating opportunities. This is what Sam Agyarko does, and his efforts are inspiring.

Tiffany Coleman Posted over a year ago

Vote for Sam

Cyndi Perez Posted over a year ago

Samuel is one of the most passionate and committed educators I have had the pleasure of working with. Whether it is in a high school classroom, within the pages of his most recently authored book, or mentoring students through his organization, "The A-Team," Sam is always focused on improving life outcomes for students in marginalized communities by making education more relevant accessible to them. Samuel has committed his life to being an Educator, Mentor, and Social Justice Advocate. He is the embodiment of a LifeChanger.

Kite John Posted over a year ago

He is awesome.

Shannon Posted over a year ago

What an awesome honor this would be for such an amazing person. He is so driven and determined to make this world a better place one student at a time.

Eric Wong Posted over a year ago

I'd like to recognize Samuel for his passion to shaping the minds of the future. He is selfless when it comes to the youth. Many people talk the talk but Sam walks it. We need more people as committed as him!

Alife Agyarko Posted over a year ago

I may be biased but my cousin has definitely been a change agent. From teaching to running a non profit. To writing and providing a free book for young people to help them govern themselves. He is amazing. He is worthy.

Danny Posted over a year ago

I’ve known Sam for over 15 years. As a 2016/2017 Golden Apple Teacher, and someone that currently works in the same department with Mr. Agyarko, I know his value to the school and the community. Many of my SEL ideas stemmed from discussions and with Sam.

Michelle Sarich Posted over a year ago

Sometimes you meet someone who ignites your fire. Samuel has a passion and drive that makes you excited again for teaching. He truly cares for each one of his students and loves what he teaches - always trying to improve and connect with his students. I am continuously impressed by him both personally and professionally.

Mary Smith Posted over a year ago

Me. Agyarko attended elementary school together. He has either taught or played a major role in my four of my five grandchildren’s lives. The students at Thornwood high school love him. He is always looking for ways to motivate the students.