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ELED Ambassador Spotlight Questions

Daniel (“Danny”) Gick
MEd Student

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Fairfax County, VA. Eighteen months ago, I moved back to Northern Virginia after a short stint of living out-of-state. I am happy to have returned to my hometown—where I plan to stay for good.

Why did you decide to become an elementary teacher?

As a former county prosecutor, I have seen the worst consequence of urban poverty: the school-to-prison pipeline. I realized that my role in keeping the community safe, while important, was reactionary. By transitioning to the field of education, I realized that I could make proactive change in my local community. I enrolled in a master’s program in ELED in my effort to become a well-rounded future educator.

Why did you choose to study Elementary Education at Mason?

I chose to study ELED at Mason for two reasons. First and foremost, as someone who plans to teach in a NOVA public school following graduation, I was particularly drawn to Mason because of its PDS (Professional Development School) partnerships with local school districts. Second, I chose Mason due to its year-long teaching internship. As a career switcher, I understand that training and support are essential to ensuring my long-term success as an educator.

What do you like to do in your free time?

As a science lover, I spend my free time watching wildlife documentaries and reading science articles. I also enjoy playing word games, such as Merriam-Webster’s Quordle and the New York Times’s Spelling Bee. To help ensure that I spend at least part of my day living in the moment, I have two rescue dogs—a five-year-old beagle/pit/lab mix and a fifteen-year-old “Frankenmutt”—whom I love dearly.

Where do you see yourself in your career 10 years from now?

Ideally, I would like to work at a Title I or other high-needs public school in Northern Virginia. I am drawn to teaching upper elementary more broadly and/or middle school science specifically, as I have a strong interest in the material taught at these grade levels. Just as importantly, I am aware of the mental health struggles that have befallen these students because of the pandemic, and I would like to do my part to help ensure that the kids stay alright.

Anything else you would like to add?

My ten-year college reunion was held this past June. Had you asked me a decade ago what I wanted to do with my life, I would have said, without skipping a beat, that I want to be a teacher. Although I got a little side-tracked from that goal, I am grateful that I had the opportunity to work as an attorney. My experiences have changed how I think about and see the world, which will only help me be a better teacher.