Staff Tribute: Kodjo Akploh

AkplohSpecial Education Teacher

“Mr. Akploh was a relentlessly supportive colleague who cared for our school family immensely, and we all felt it. Our office was often flooded with students who flocked to him for his quiet resolve, unwavering willingness to support them, and understanding nature.” – Katherine Kane, a teaching colleague who shared an office with Mr. Akploh at the Math, Science Research and Technology Magnet High School in Queens.

Born in the West African nation of Togo and arriving in the New York City Department of Education eighteen years ago by way of Benin, Ghana, and Senegal, Mr. Akploh particularly gravitated to supporting students whose families were new to the United States. Mr. Akploh was proud of his journey and heritage. An active member of the African Development Institute, he enjoyed cooking and sharing dishes from the continent he grew up in.

Reserved, with a demeanor that seemed to calm everyone around him, Mr. Akploh started as a social studies teacher at August Martin High School before moving to Math, Science Research and Technology Research (widely known as MAST) three years ago. One of Mr. Akploh’s highest priorities was enrolling his students with disabilities in a work program that allowed them to earn money for helping out around the school and ensuring that they received their paychecks accurately and promptly. No detail was too small for him to attend to on behalf of his students.

Mr. Akploh’s attentiveness built powerful connections. Ms. Kane says, “The fondness of our students for him was palpable. His students were always so happy to see him not only in school, but outside in the community.” Though his loss continues to be felt at MAST as a new school year begins, the positivity he generated in the school’s culture very much remains.