Santos keeps head high

By Alex Curry-Lipka

Brian Santos, also known as “Senor Santos” to his students and staff, has dedicated his life to helping others.

Upon entering Truman State University on an academic scholarship, he planned to graduate college with a future in psychology. His brother is mentally handicapped which solidified Santos’ eagerness to be someone who could prescribe medicine to those who need it. However, while participating in an internship at a mental facility, he realized it wasn’t what he expected.

“It just wasn’t for me. I didn’t like it at all,” Santos said.

This downfall didn’t stop him though. He decided to take a different course in his life.

“I asked myself ‘What other ways can I help?’” Santos said. “So I studied abroad in Spain and fell in love with the language.”

When Santos returned from Spain, he declared Spanish education as his major. He did his student teaching in Blue Springs, Kansas City where he learned a lot about teaching. He recalled that while teaching a lesson, a student was being disruptive and proceeded to pull his pants down.

“I had this horrified expression like ‘what do I do?’” Santos said. “I said ‘go out into the hall!’ but then realized I would have to go talk to him!”

It was times like those that Santos realized he couldn’t keep his same “introverted personality” but be more outgoing. After 5 years of studying at Truman, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and a master in Spanish. Despite his qualifications, it was difficult to find a job.

“[I came to St. Charles because] No one was hiring in Kansas City. So my mom said I might check St. Louis. I applied at Francis Howell Central, Orchard Farms, and Hazelwood West and I was hired at every place. It was like God calling me,” Santos said.

Santos took the job and Central and began teaching Spanish 1 and 2. When a colleague informed him of a higher level Spanish teacher being needed at Francis Howell North, he applied and got the job. He taught Spanish 4 and 5.

“I love Spanish 4 classes because the students know so much so I can be creative. The kids make it fun and entertaining,” Santos said.

Santos has gotten involved with school activities such as the Costa Rica trips, International Club, Bible Club, Boy’s tennis, and he’s also the building instructional technology specialist. Currently, he’s also working to receive a PhD in educational policy. Despite having a rough start, he still enjoys teaching and is still learning himself.

“I had to get a lot of leadership experience,” Santos said. “You need to be a good motivator.”