As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Derek Brunn!
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Derek.
Primary Role: Program Associate for Curriculum & Instruction
Years at GDS: Three years down and three months into year four!
What do you love about GDS?
I love what GDS stands for and how I can be myself here. I also value the autonomy I have as an employee and how supportive my colleagues are.
Why do you do your job?
I love being of service to others, supporting teachers, and working with students to give them some of the life tips that I have acquired throughout the years.
A favorite part of your job?
My interaction with the students! I love connecting with them and having a positive effect on their lives.
Your work style in three words?
Efficient. Thorough. Fun!
Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
Assistant Men's Lacrosse Coach, Black Student Union Faculty Co-Lead, GDS shuttle bus driver for the Connecticut Avenue Route, and advisor of eight amazing High School students.
A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
My hope is that all of my colleagues and our students reach their fullest potential, achieve their wildest dreams, and have a positive influence on those coming up after them.
I love sports, with my favorite being football. I am a big fan of the Tennessee Titans (NFL), Virginia Cavaliers (NCAA), and Detroit Pistons (NBA). I also love being an uncle and recently added godfather to my growing list of treasured titles!
A few favorites…?
Favorite Hip Hop Artists (in no particular order): Kendrick Lamar, J. Cole, Slum Village, Isaiah Rashad, Kanye West, Outkast, A Tribe Called Quest, Wiz Khalifa, Ab-Soul, Lil Wayne, Schoolboy Q, Little Brother, Wale, JID, Reason, Dom Kennedy, Big KRIT…
Tell us about your pet.
Meet Titan! My 6-year-old pitbull. I was terrified of dogs my entire life, but I told myself that if I ever completed a Master's program, I would get one. I purchased Titan in the middle of a blizzard in the small town of Marne, Michigan. I picked him because he was the least exuberant of the six-puppy litter, and clearly, I had no idea what I had gotten myself into at that point. Since then, he has been an absolute joy in my life and an amazing—if sometimes mischievous—companion. He loves going on nature walks, playing tug of war, belly rubs, and…going through the trash [sigh]. Over the years, he has chewed his way through an impressive list of items, including an iPad, several pairs of Vans & Crocs, a couple pairs of Beats headphones, and some textbooks. To be honest, I am sure he is actively working on adding to that list.
One thing about yourself your students/colleagues/others probably don't know?
I love being from the 757 [Hampton Roads], and I spent 5 years living in West Michigan.
One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Obtaining my Master's degree at age 23.
One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
I really want to visit the Maldives, Montana, and Mexico!
With a tip from Derek, we reached out to hear what a colleague had to say...
Mid-year, Derek made a transition from the High School office to an all-school role in the Office of Curriculum & Instruction. Given the shift, we are sharing appreciation from two voices.
High School history teacher and chair of the High School history department Clifton Coates said: "In my two decades of being a teacher in various schools independent and private, I have never seen someone handle the intricacies and nuances of the day-to-day operations of a high school division as adeptly as Derek. From knowing the schedule on a micro and macro level, to being able to assist with last minute urgencies with smoothness and aplomb, Derek has always been an indispensable body of knowledge to the GDS community."
Assistant Head of School for Curriculum & Instruction Laura Yee said, “Derek is not only a one-of-a-kind colleague but also a wonderful human, period. On a daily basis, he supports us all in multiple ways, from answering questions about professional learning processes to using his creative capacities to brainstorm with me multiple solutions to a new challenge. He's never phased by anything coming his way, cares deeply about our adult and student community, represents GDS with integrity and pride, possesses a growth mindset, and has a great sense of humor. He consistently supports the success of others and does so without expecting anything in return. I'm so glad that the community has this opportunity to hear more about him, as he's an exemplary colleague and community member. We're fortunate to have him here!”