18-year-old RCSD graduate announces candidacy for school board

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ROCHESTER, NY. (WHEC) – A 2022 Rochester City School District graduate announced his candidacy for commissioner of the Rochester City School Board. At just 18-years-old, he would be the youngest to run in the district for the board.

Isaiah Santiago’s message is simple, he wants to be a part of the solution and help bring change to the district.

He’s attending St. John Fisher University studying political science and he knows first hand how the board’s decisions can affect students.

You can watch Isaiah’s full announcement here:

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“We’re at a time where school boards are more worried about the beef that they have with one another than they’re worried about the next generation in Rochester, New York,” Santiago said. “And I don’t know about you guys, but I’m ready for change.”

Santiago is a 2022 School of the Arts graduate. Making the move to be a school board commissioner for RCSD. He said he can use his own experience and insight to bring change to the district.

“Who’s better to do that than a young person, who’s been through it?” Santiago said. “That’s one thing that I really want to touch on is I’m a 2022 graduate, I’ve been through it. I’m currently at St. John Fisher University catching up from stuff that I should have learned in middle school.”

His main focus is making sure the district is fiscally responsible for students, providing a healthy learning environment with new policies, advocating for better mental health services, and combating violence. However, Santiago wouldn’t say if he supported police officers in schools.

“I think that there’s time for us to find a new technique, and I think that one of the ways that we could do that is seeing if as a school district and the city, if we can expand our contract with Pathways to Peace, so under there, we have mentors and protectors at the same time.” Santiago said.

This is not his first effort in service to his community. Santiago founded the organization “We Got This” to help prevent gun violence and also authored the “Mental Health Literacy” curriculum which will be featured in the district in the upcoming years.

With goals to be a future president, Santiago said he’s not letting his age stop him from making a difference.

“If anything, it’s a statement,” Santiago said. “Honestly, it’s a statement that young people are ready for change. We’re ready for effective change. We’re ready for a new energy. We’re ready for new ideas. We’re ready for people to be socially innovative and the only way to do that is obviously by bringing in new people.”

News10NBC reached out the Monroe County Democratic Committee, they said the committee encourages anyone interested in serving their community to consider running for office.

There will be four school board seats open this year.