A Committment to Collaboration

Gerardo Arriaga has been an educator for more than 25 years. His passion for teaching began in his native country, Mexico, where he worked as a teacher before immigrating to the United States. When he came to Chicago, he worked in an elementary school as a teaching assistant. It was a first step in his journey.

“I was lucky to find someone who supported me,” Gerardo said. “The principal helped me get my certification as a teacher here. And through a process of effort, work and study, I became a teacher in Chicago Public Schools.”

After earning his teaching degree from National-Louis University, Gerardo taught reading, math and technology to fourth, fifth and eighth graders. Gerardo earned his master’s degree and Type 75 certification from Northern Illinois University and secured an Assistant Principal position. By 2009, Gerardo was named Principal of Tonti Elementary School.

When Gerardo joined The Fund’s Educator Advisory Committee (EAC) in 2013, he was committed to bringing parents, educators, community organizations and businesses together to benefit the children of Chicago. Through the EAC, he was able to collaborate with his peers and develop new ideas for his school.

“Teachers definitely need support from the administration,” Gerardo said. “It’s an eye opener to see the possibilities and to understand that we don’t have to continue doing the same things – teaching students the same way and expecting the results to be different. We have to change.”


Gerardo is an Educator Advisory Committee alum and a previous participant in The Fund’s Summer Design Program.

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