Catching Up With: Shirley Santos — Respected Educator Continues to Give at Rowan College SJ


By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media

VINELAND — Shirley Santos, the widely respected educator and community leader in Cumberland County, just couldn’t stay put.

After retiring from Vineland Public Schools after 32 years of service as a bilingual and bicultural educator, Santos was hired as a developmental advisor for Rowan College of South Jersey’s Las Vias program, where she helps first-generation Latino students with individualized academic advisement in non-STEM careers.

NOTE: Find more great stories connected to South Jersey’s Latino community in Front Runner La Prensa here!

Santos also continues to serve as co-chair of the Rowan College of South Jersey Hispanic Advisory Board.

The board is comprised of a group of local Latino community members who act as a liaison between the college and the Latino community in Cumberland County. RCSJ is one of a handful of institutions in South Jersey that has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education as a welcoming and encouraging place for Latinos to get a higher education.

“In the last five years, we have awarded over $75,000 in scholarships to RCSJ students,” Santos told Front Runner New Jersey. “On June 28th, we will have our first community event called Road to Success, where attendees can learn about RCSJ’s programs and information on how to enroll and pay for college.”

Santos said the board will also offer information on the application process, testing requirements, FAFSA, and other ways to pay for college.

“For those in the workforce, we will offer information about ESL Classes and other programs that fit their needs,” she said. “There will be something for everyone. We will also have refreshments and door prizes.”

Santos said she will be stepping down as co-chair of the Hispanic Advisory Board after the event.

Santos was a longtime teacher at Gloria M. Sabater Elementary School, where she was an award-winning educator and also serve as a board member of the Boys & Girls Club of Cumberland County.

“There is no greater joy than serving others,” Santos told Front Runner New Jersey in a 2020 interview. “Our Lord told us to love Him and love our neighbor as ourselves. The world needs a lot of that. If we can do that every day, this world would be a better place to live.”

South Jersey continues to be blessed by Santos and her spirit and help youth and others in the Latino community.

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