As part of our ongoing series Meet Our GDS Faculty and Staff, we are excited to present: Meet Toussaint Lacoste!
Read the Q&A below to learn more about Toussaint.
Primary Roles: Middle School history teacher and 6th grade advisor
Years at GDS: Nearly five years down!
What do you love about GDS?
What I love about GDS is the mission and philosophy, which calls on us to affirm students and equip them with the voices and tools to be active social justice warriors—and agents of change—in their communities and the world. My commitment to teaching at this institution is cemented in the confidence that comes from the freedom I have to be authentically myself as I teach or moderate difficult topics. In addition, I appreciate how GDS has embraced my family and edified my older son, Lucas, who continues to navigate through the school, opening doors for his younger siblings to take advantage of this world-class education.
Why do you teach?
I teach because it affords me an opportunity to truly give back and provide an opportunity for the next generation to grow and take ownership of their lives and impact their communities. Teaching fullfills me in a way that cannot be measured or calculated by monetary means. To see a young person truly get that “ aha” moment is truly amazing.
A favorite part of your job?
I love working with GDS parents and families. They play a major role in the work that we do, and I am grateful for their dedication and support.
Your work style in three words?
Relational. Progressive. Rigorous.
Other GDS activities or roles that community members may not know about?
Toussaint is a Middle School advisor, a participant in parent affinity groups, a Brother 2 Brother student affinity space facilitator, and a faculty mentor for Drop the Hop, the Middle School spoken word club.
A top hope/wish for your students and/or colleagues?
To continue to be unapologetically who we are and speak transparently and candidly as we build a more just and moral community.
Spoken word/poetry, comic book movies with my kids, traveling, returning home to Boston to see family and friends, playing (and watching) football and basketball, shopping (online and in stores), playing Spades, listening to old school music from the 80s and 90s, and visiting historic and cultural landmarks.
A few favorites…?
Fashion Accessories: Bow ties and pocket squares
Comic Book Movie: Captain America Civil War
NBA Team: Boston Celtics
Genre of music: Old School R&B/Hip Hop
Food: Caribbean /Latin
Novel: Alex Haley's Roots
Place to visit: Jamaica
Tell us about your family.
A favorite family activity is taking our boys to Williamsburg for Spring Break. They enjoy visiting Great Wolf Lodge and have become really good swimmers and floaters. We love that they don't hide their joy and exhilaration when we first arrive at the animal statues that welcome us. This trip affirms why we work so hard, day after day.
Something you made, created, or accomplished that you can proudly share?
I am proud to have participated in and helped organize a Black History Month video collaboration that highlighted community members, students, and staff, who shared how they acknowledge and honor the contributions of historic figures and institutions. It allowed me to share how and why the knowledge of Black History benefitted the trajectory of my and my family's journey.
One thing about yourself that others probably don't know?
I love clothing and fashion. I really enjoy getting dressed up with a nice suit, tie/bow tie, a clean pair of oxford shoes, a fedora hat or newsboy cap, and a pocket square.
One thing on your life "bucket list" you've already accomplished?
Two big items checked off: Snorkeling in the Caribbean and going to the National Museum of African American History.
One thing on your life “bucket list” you have yet to accomplish?
Going to West Africa and standing at the Door of No Return in Ghana
With a tip from Toussaint, we reached out to hear what colleagues had to say...
Lower School Instructional Coach Azureé Harrison said, “Toussaint puts 300% effort into everything he takes on, ensuring that nothing falls short of excellence. His unwavering dedication to leading by example and uplifting others inspires and motivates those around him, making him an invaluable presence in our school community.”
MS English Teacher and 7th Grade Dean Kyle Money said, “Toussaint is beloved by students, colleagues, and families alike. He brings elements of care, optimism, and joy to the work that he does in the classroom and the community. In addition to supporting students in 6th and 7th grade history and Brother 2 Brother Affinity Group, he’s also there for students in all the other soft spaces throughout the day, where he can offer an encouraging word, a fist bump, or a smile. As a member of the 7th grade teaching team, I love seeing Toussaint's excitement when the Power Project rolls around in the spring. He pushes students to bring their knowledge to life with creative, thoughtful projects. Finally, looking past Toussaint's unfortunate affiliation with Boston sports teams, he is a great guy that always finds time to share a funny story or a nugget of wisdom.”