Every year at DP YOU, we come together as a network to learn from each other and celebrate the culture and values of Democracy Prep. This year, we’re recognizing the teachers, academic and operational leaders (and more) who make up the DREAM team by sharing how they’ve excelled in their schools and why they #WorkAtDP.
Chasidy Kretzer worked as a DREAM Coach at one of our middle schools before transitioning to being a Leader U Fellow at Democracy Prep Charter Middle School (DPCMS). She is now the Assistant Principal at Democracy Prep at the Agassi Campus Middle School (DPAC MS).
Chasidy began her journey in education as a Teach For America corps member in Oklahoma. She spent two years in the classroom teaching Algebra I and 6th grade math and science. She joined Democracy Prep as a DREAM coach. After spending one year in the coaching role, she wanted to transition into school leadership. She believed there was an opportunity to create a more cohesive relationship between teachers and DREAM coaches. She knew that she would need to move into school leadership to be able to affect that change on a campus-wide scale.
Now, as an assistant principal, she has an opportunity to coach DREAM coaches and teachers as a unit instead of as separate entities. This year, she designed a professional development session to help teachers gain a greater understanding of a DREAM coach’s role. She facilitated a DREAM room “Open House” where teachers played the part of the scholar and went into the DREAM room to see what a DREAM coach’s day-to-day looks like.
When Chasidy reflects on what makes Democracy Prep a great place to work, two things stand out. First, the team culture of the schools, and second, the development that DREAM team members receive.
For example, Chasidy knows she has a whole community of DREAM team members to reach out to if she needs support.
“When I don’t feel like I have come up with the best possible solution, I reach out to people, whether that be Alex Daniels, Adam Johnson, Tanya Nunez, or Brian Serzan,” said Chasidy. “That’s kind of my network.”
As for development, Chasidy believes that Democracy Prep works to develop every single teacher, regardless of skill level.”With the coaching you receive through Democracy Prep, you are able to identify your strengths and areas of growth,” said Chasidy. “Then, you are provided with one on one coaching and actionable feedback that will grow your skill set.”
One of the ways that Chasidy has been developed at Democracy Prep was as a Leader U Fellow. One of the many things she learned as a Fellow at DPCMS was to ask herself, “What would you do as a parent?” when deciding the best approach for resolving any situation involving a scholar. This pause and reflection is a guidepost that she uses frequently in her current role.
Another way that Democracy Prep develops its staff is through DP YOU. Chasidy is excited for her team to make connections with people from across the network, see what opportunities for growth are available to them, and to reconnect to Democracy Prep’s ‘why.’ She knows the weekend in San Antonio will unite educators from across the network behind DP’s mission. “It’s not that we do this because it’s the ‘DP way,’” said Chasidy. “We do this because we’ve found that this is what is best for kids.”