Richard Barajas is a 2022-2023 Teach Plus Illinois Affinity Group Facilitator and a 9th-12th grade Spanish teacher. He also coaches Cross Country and Track at East Aurora High School in Aurora, Illinois. Richard focuses on teaching children self-advocacy, responsibility, and goal setting through his classes and coaching. He had the opportunity to be a a Graduation Coach, where he was able to work with administration and students on organization, motivation, goal setting, and credit/unit recovery to improve the graduation rate. Richard received his Crystal Apple award from the fellows of the Golden Apple Foundation in 2022 and was inducted as a Golden Apple Scholar in 2014. He began his teaching career in 2016 as a Golden Apple Scholar in Chicago and has since then taught all grade levels between 6th through 12th grade. He earned his BA in Spanish Education from North Park University.