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Beyond BC: Sizi Goyah

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Each staff member in BCCS has a full life outside of school walls. There are forces that drive them and lead them to stand front and center in their lives in many ways. Through this campaign called Beyond BC, we invite staff to showcase their uniqueness and authentic selves. 

Equal access to education is a passion for Mr. Sizi Goyah, math teacher at Brooklyn Center Middle and High School STEAM. In fact, it is not just a passion for him, but the reason he got into education in the first place. 

“Growing up, I always wanted to be an engineer like my dad,” said Goyah. “That was my plan all through college and my first job after I graduated from Texas Tech.” Even though his degree and experience were in engineering, Goyah still felt drawn to the education field because of an experience he and his family encountered when they moved to the United States from Liberia when he was younger. When his family moved to the states, his sister was put into a seventh grade classroom, based on her age, even though she was at a third grade level based on the Liberia school standards. This discrepancy resulted in many struggles for his younger sister, as well as his family, as they all worked together to help teach her and support her as much as possible. Because of this impactful experience, education was always a passion of Goyah’s. 

Fast forward from his engineering job right out of college, Goyah decided to switch paths and get his teaching certificate and move into the education field. “I moved from my engineering career into education by attending classes on the weekends while still working full time in order to get my license and transition to the classroom,” said Goyah. “I’m so happy that I made that choice.”

Goyah has now been teaching math for over a decade, the last 10 years at Brooklyn Center Community Schools, where his love for mathematics has come to fruition in the way he teaches and engages with his students. Goyah enjoys looking for concepts of math in all areas of life whether it is music, pop culture, art, and more. “My students and I have this joke in class all the time where they always test me to see if I can ‘find math in there,’” said Goyah. “We have fun with it and find ways to integrate math into some of their everyday lives.” 

Goyah believes that some of the gaps public education is facing today have more to do with the resources schools are able to provide due to funding, and not necessarily the students’ ability to learn. “Educators always talk about the achievement gap with racial demographics, but there is not a difficulty to learn in the students, but a gap in the education system,” he said. “I am passionate about providing equal access to quality instruction for all students.” 

Goyah’s passions for mathematics and education extend beyond just his classroom, and into the LEAP program where he teaches robotics after school and occasionally in the summers as well. In this program, he has been able to lead a drone class, giving students access to technology that can be useful in mathematics and also a myriad of other subjects. The school acquired the drone through a grant and has been able to use it in the LEAP program, as well as math classes, integrating robotics into lessons about geometry and other math principles. “I love making math come alive and helping kids be passionate when it comes to math,” he said. 

In addition to the subject matter he teaches day in and day out, Goyah is also extremely proud of his African heritage and tries to include aspects of that history into his lessons and persona as a teacher. “I learn everyday about how Africans living in caves were able to think up complex mathematical ideas and phenomena that they have not been credited for,” said Goyah. “It is always exciting to have these conversations with students and we learn about math and history intertwining.” 

When Goyah is not in the classroom, he enjoys spending time with his family. Whether it is listening to Cocomelon with his 18-month-old daughter, watching movies with his wife, playing with his own drone in his free time, or volunteering on local political campaigns, he is always looking for concepts of mathematics in his everyday life.