Danielle Tata, Lower School Dean of Students
Q: How many years have you been at BCCS? What different roles have you played for the school since you joined the team?
A: This is my seventh year. I taught seventh and eighth grade English for four years. Three years ago, I started in my role as Lower School Dean of Students.
Q: How and why did you first enter the education world? Did you always know that you would be in education?
A: I didn't have any aspirations to be a teacher. I went to school and got my degree in pre-law and communications. But education has always been an issue that I've felt very strongly about, both my own education and the idea of making a difference for other students. I applied for and was accepted to Teach For America. I taught eighth grade English for two years at P.S. 118 in the South Bronx. After working there, I felt that the impact I could make as a teacher would be one of the more tremendous things that I could do in my life.
Q: Why did you join BCCS?
A: I knew I wanted to move back to Boston after living in New York for two years. I looked around at various websites, and Boston Collegiate sounded like something I could believe in - sending every student to college, and making that accessible to students all over the city. That really spoke to me. I applied and was very happily accepted.
Q: How does BCCS compare to other work experiences you have had?
A: I have the ability to affect change here. Teachers and staff members are so important here, both as individuals and as a collaborative - that's really powerful. The number of smart, dedicated people who work here is astonishing. I have never met anyone else in any other field that feels as confident in their team as a whole as I do at this school.
Q: You have seen the school change during your time here. What have been the most important changes?
A: The division of the school into Lower School, Middle School, and High School has been really key. It's allowed us to focus on each developmental stage and tailor our approach really well.
Q: What has not changed?
A: The focus on and the intensity around the mission. People here really do believe and always have that every single child can and should get an excellent free and public education and a college degree and should have the choice when they're a senior to be able to apply to any four-year college and thrive there.
Q: What are the most important lessons you try to teach your students as the Dean of Students?
One of the biggest is the idea that we are stronger as a community than we are just as individuals. Our strength as a school really relies on every single person - teachers, students, administrators, families, everybody - not only believing in but acting on the mission we have here. That translates through not only behavior but also academics, follow-through, participation in extracurricular activities - all of that makes us happier and stronger. That's what I try to impart. That, and be good!
Q: What has kept you at BCCS?
A: The other staff members. Also, seeing my students start in Lower School and then graduate from high school, go off to college, and become awesome adults. It has been really incredible to see the growth in the students and understand that I really did make some kind of difference along with all of the other teachers in their lives to get them to college.
Q: What makes your work meaningful?
A: The fact that we are here to fulfill such a great mission.
Q: 20 years from now, how do you think you'll describe your experience at BCCS?
Intense! Intense, and ultimately one of the most rewarding things I've ever done. Other than being a new mom.