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Several Chicago educators among national winners of Ford Freedom Unsung “Teachers Heroes of COVID-19” Awards

The Ford Motor Company this week announced winners of the Ford Freedom Unsung “Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” Awards, honoring 25 U.S. educators who in the face of tremendous difficulty, heroically resolved to reach and teach students.

The honorees were announced on November 10, 2021, during the Global Automotive Summit in Detroit sponsored by the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The celebratory event culminated a national campaign where Ford invited the public to nominate K-12 educators who went above and beyond for their students despite the challenges of virtual learning and other hardships during the pandemic.

Managed and supported by Ford Motor Company Fund, the automaker’s philanthropic arm, Ford Freedom Unsung is an annual award series that celebrates ordinary individuals doing extraordinary acts in the African American community.

The three Chicago winners are Dr. April Price, Jacob Rangel and Mrs. Danyele T. Woods. Each demonstrated why they are Ford Freedom Unsung “Teacher Heroes of COVID- 19.”

Dr. April Price teaches at Burnside Scholastic Academy in Chicago Illinois where she teaches 6-8th grade students with mild and moderate disabilities. Dr. Price also coaches participants with the Special Olympics. In addition to teaching, she serves as a Consulting Teacher and a Teacher Ambassador for Chicago Public Schools working to both retain and recruit teachers for the district. In her spare time, she works with an organization she helped create called Brown Girl Magic. In this role, she works with middle school girls of color whose motto is ” The most important thing a girl can wear is her confidence. Dr. Price was one of the “Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” because she kept her special needs students engaged during virtual lessons and ensured that they had everything they needed. She delivered supplies to her students and helped their parents get accustomed to virtual classes.

Dr. April L. Price
Dr. April L. Price

Jacob Rangel teaches Math and Engineering to pre-college high school students at Chicago State University. During the pandemic, Mr. Rangel continued to virtually prepare his PREP students for competitions, coaching them to victory while contracting and fighting the virus. He hosted small group sessions and encouraged students to share their work and had interactive lessons and demonstrations.

Jacob Rangel
Jacob Rangel

Mrs. Danyele T. Woods teaches first and second grade at Heritage Leadership Academy, which she founded and is Principal and Chief Executive

Officer of the Academy. It is based on Chicago’s South Side. During the pandemic, Mrs. Woods smoothly transitioned to a virtual learning plan and would deliver supplies to her students’ homes. She even created a virtual summer STEM to keep students engaged and excited about education.

Mrs. Danyale T. Woods
Mrs. Danyale T. Woods

The 2021 Ford Freedom Unsung “Teacher Heroes of COVID-19” Award recipients and the communities they serve are:

Chelsea Adams, Knightdale, NC; Sasha Bass, Jacksonville, FL; Neidra Ellen Berry, Davenport, FL; Pamela Price Brown, Charlottesville, VA; Juel Cope – land, Escondido, CA; Dekonti Davies, Greensboro, NC; Kimberly Edwards,

Madison, AL; Micah Edwards, Hockessin, DE; Priscilla Floyd, Chesapeake, VA; Joelle Gentner, New Orleans, LA; Schrildea Glover, Terrell, TX; Pam Grant, Rochester, NY; Erik Hines, Sumter, SC; Janette Jones, Birmingham, AL; Lisa M. Long, Detroit, MI; Dr. Althea Penn, Snellville, GA; Justin Phillips, Statesville, NC; Shannan Pike- Murray, Poughkeepsie, NY; Dr. April L. Price, Chicago, IL; Jacob Range, Chica- go, IL; Kia Smith, Sumter, SC; Samantha Dawn Smith, Sumter, SC; Edwina Lynn Walton, Los Angeles, CA; Katina White, Little Rock, AR; and Danyele Woods, Chicago, IL.

Ford Motor Company Fund

As the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, Ford Fund’s mission is to strengthen communities and help make people’s lives better. Working with dealers and nonprofit partners in more than 50 countries, Ford Fund provides access to opportunities and resources that help people reach their full potential. Since 1949, Ford Fund has invested more than $2.1 billion in programs that support education, promote safe driving, enrich community life and encourage employee volunteering. For more information, visit or join us at @Ford- FundonFacebook, Instagram and Twitter.


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