Director of Creative Voices
After working with Big Thought on and off for over 10 years, including as a Teaching Artist and Curriculum Writer, Armando Banchs joined the organization as its Director of Creative Voices in 2017. Although accepting the role meant leaving behind his classroom after 16 years of teaching, he saw this opportunity as a way to do what he’s always charged his students with: Follow your passions and help make the world a better place. A passionate advocate for the youth he works with, Armando truly believes in Big Thought’s mission to close the opportunity gap and fight systemic racism by offering communities of color the same opportunities that white middle-class youth receive.
In his current role, Armando leads The Fellowship Initiative, Creative Solutions, Artivism and the Youth Advisory Council, reaching more than 3,800 youth with 50,800 learning hours annually. As the director for The Fellowship Initiative’s Dallas program, he helps young men of color achieve college-readiness and affect positive change in their communities. For Armando, TFI is also about helping Fellows gain positive self-imaging, combat imposter syndrome and join a family that believes in them. Most importantly, he can help Fellows realize that everything they ever needed was always inside of them.
Armando grew up a proud Army Brat and lived in places from Puerto Rico to Greece, but he considers Texas home. After graduation from Cedar Hill High School, he received his Bachelor of Science in interdisciplinary studies from the University of North Texas. He has received Campus Teacher of the Year for two Dallas ISD campuses, grant money for the Dallas Theater Center Project Discovery – Young Patrons Program, created a cooperative with SMU School of Education and been awarded MET Teacher (Measure of Effective Teaching) from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for 2010–2013.