Acero Teacher’s Dreams Don’t Have Borders

Katherine Huete Galeano is a Special Education teacher, an active member in her community, and she’s a Dreamer.

Galeano came to the United States from Nicaragua when she was just five years old. As a teenager she experienced the deportation of her father back to Nicaragua, an event that drastically changed the dynamics in her household. With her father gone, Galeano took on more responsibilities at a young age, including working to help support her family. During this difficult time she found support through her high school teacher and guidance counselor. This support helped guide her decision towards a future career as a teacher.

During her sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin, the Obama administration instituted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Galeano applied and received DACA status allowing her to obtain a driver’s license along with the ability to legally work in the United States. She recalls that receiving DACA status was a “sense of relief” knowing that it would open doors to more job opportunities, “I never knew if I would be able to use the degree I would get, and I didn’t think much about the future [before DACA].”

After college, she joined Teach for America (TFA) and became a teacher at Marquez Elementary, an Acero public charter school. She is in her third year at Marquez where she teaches Special Education Reading and Math for seventh and eighth grade students. At Marquez she is more than a teacher, she is also a trusted resource and confidant for many of the students. She gained this reputation by openly discussing her DACA status with students and staff. For many students, this allows them solace in a time when they are facing similar issues in their personal lives. Galeano hopes that her story is a source of inspiration for students, stating that it allows them to break down the preconceived notions of what it means to be a Dreamer. “With me they see that you can go to high school or a college regardless of what your status is. That you still can work hard and have ambition.”

Outside of teaching, Galeano serves on the Advisory Board for Teach for America members in Chicago. During her time with TFA, she has advocated on behalf of fellow Dreamers at the  local and national levels and is still active in her efforts. When asked to describe who the Dreamers are, she said, “We are a group of people who have made the best out of the worst possible situation. We have been able to achieve so much with what little [resources] we have been given.”

Galeano’s story embodies Acero’s values of achievement, community, excellence, resilience and optimism. We are proud to have her as a member of the Acero community and for the work that she does with our students each day.