Julie Mazziotta
June 24, 2016 02:45 PM

With brains and brawn, PEOPLE’s Sexiest Teacher Alive Nicholas Ferroni is the whole package.

The New Jersey high school teacher wowed PEOPLE with his looks, for which he was awarded the Sexiest Teacher title in the 2014 Sexiest Man Alive issue. But he’s all that and a passionate advocate for equal rights.

In this clip from Saturday’s episode of People’s List, which airs at 8/7c on ABC, Ferroni talks about why LGBT rights is so important to him as a teacher.

“I make it my priority to be outspoken and supportive in the classroom,” Ferroni says. “Because I know I have students who are dealing with many issues, not to mention sexuality. So I feel like if they know their teacher is openly supportive of it, it’ll ease that transition, and allow them to be more open about themselves.”

Nicholas Ferroni

Ferroni was recently recognized by the Human Rights Campaign for his public advocacy on behalf of LGBT youth, including a PSA that he put together in August.

“To all my fellow educators out there,” Ferroni says in the video, “please openly and proudly support all your students, but especially your LGBT students, because they desperately need us to. And we may be the only ones who do support them.”

“Not only because it’s the right thing, but because it will save lives.”

People’s List, features Jerry O’Connell and Suchin Pak discussing five newsworthy individuals you need to know that week – from celebrities to everyday people, also includes features familiar to PEOPLE readers, including Scoop, PeopleStyle, PeoplePets and the Jess Cagle Interview.

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