“DSST represents the model of my dream school. DSST sets the standard for excellence in learning and best practices in teaching.” - Nik Casey, 9th grade Humanities Teacher, Teach For America Alumnus (RGV '05)
“One of the things that initially brought me to this school was the diversity and the opportunity that all the kids have to interact with students from different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. I think that’s very valuable. I appreciate the part of mission that focuses on increasing the number of students who receive free and reduced lunch that go to college and increasing the number of women who study science and engineering. Instructionally, in general, we push a lot of best practices from planning backwards, to spiraling, to using multisensory instructional methods. My colleagues are awesome and we bring an energy and excitement to the classroom that you don’t see in a typical school.” - Erin Dillon, 8th grade Social Studies Teacher, Teach For America Alumnus (Charlotte '04)
Teaching at DSST
Teachers at DSST Public Schools are the key to the success of our students.
Teachers in this organization can expect to work in an environment that upholds high expectations for students in their actions and their academics. Students and faculty at DSST Public Schools embrace a set of core values that are lived throughout the school and discussed openly in classrooms and at our daily morning meeting. Teachers at DSST Public Schools are driven by data and continually reflect on student performance, offering support to students who are struggling and ensuring all students are challenged. Teachers receive extensive support including observations and feedback from Directors of Curriculum and Instruction, Professional Development, and yearly book studies to ensure they are incorporating the best instructional strategies in their classrooms.
Meet a Few Members of our Team:
Name: Rudianna Armstrong
Subject: Currently I teach Prep Academy Spanish 1 and 2.
Years at DSST Public Schools: I have been a classroom teacher at DSST Public Schools since 2008. Prior to the classroom, I enthusiastically served as the Founding Director of Admission/Recruitment & Family Services from 2003-2008.
Why did you choose to work at DSST Public Schools? I came from the Colorado College in Colorado Springs, CO after growing up all around the metro Denver area and being saved by embracing education. Therefore naturally, the idea behind DSST enthralled me. College was a definite struggle, and I thought about how college would have been different, perhaps easier for me academically and socially, if I would have had a DSST.
What is your favorite part about working at DSST? I love teaching at DSST because I am offered endless opportunities to learn and grow each day by my students and my colleagues.
Name: Jeff Desserich
Subjects: Algebra 2, Honors Pre-Calculus, Improv Elective
Years at DSST Public Schools: This is my 3rd year teaching at DSST.
Why did you choose to work at DSST Public Schools? I came from KIPP: Sunshine Peak Academy, where I was teaching 8th grade math. While I enjoyed my position there, my goal since college has been to teach high school. KIPP did not yet have a high school, so when the opportunity to teach at the best high school in Denver became available, I immediately applied. Then, through the interview and hiring process, I learned about DSST’s Core Values and focus on community, which helped me realize that DSST was the right environment for me.
What is your favorite part about teaching at DSST Public Schools? My favorite part about teaching at DSST is that so many students are truly interested in learning and succeeding in school. I have to spend very little time on discipline in class because so many students come in focused and ready to do what they need to do to prepare themselves for college.
Name: Jim Trainer
Subject: 6th grade integrated science
Years at DSST Public Schools: This is my first year teaching at DSST.
Why did you choose to work at DSST Public Schools? I came from Hawai’i to teach at DSST. I came here because I was looking for a position at a school that is successful in sending students to college.
What is your favorite part about teaching at DSST Public Schools? We are very good at using data to inform instruction. I can see that all of my hard work is paying off when I analyze student results.
Name: Jessica Heesacker
Subject: 7th grade Social Studies
Years at DSST Public Schools: This is my first year.
Why did you choose to work at DSST Public Schools? I came to DSST from the Chicago Public Schools system where I was working as a teacher and administrator for the last 4 years. I came to DSST because I wanted to work for a school that had measurable results and put student learning as the first priority. I wanted to be part of a school that had a mission and stood behind that mission in terms of instructional practices, expectations and teacher accountability.
What is your favorite part about teaching at DSST Public Schools?My favorite part about teaching at DSST is the diversity of the student body. Our students come from a variety of backgrounds and historical contexts. This diversity allows students to be exposed to a variety of cultures, customs and experiences.