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A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12
A Coeducational, College Preparatory School for Ages 3 Through Grade 12

TEACHER TUESDAY BLOG

"The teachers at ESD have transformed my life. In doing that, I have grown and touched the moon!"
- A member of the Class of 2018

Check back each week for a new post! 

Donna Hull, Upper School Science Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I grew up in a family of geoscientists - every vacation and nearly every family meal conversation revolved around earth science. As a kid I was always worried that I wouldn't be as smart as my brothers and dad at science, until a teacher told me on the very last day of school in 6th grade that I actually was a pretty good science student and she hoped I would continue. I've never looked back! There's never a dull day in the science world - there are always new discoveries and something else to learn and teach.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
I love the relationships that I've built over the years here - so many students, families, and colleagues that have been a huge part of my life. ESD helped me raise my boys and give our family a second home.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
Being a wallflower is highly overrated!! Get out there, be brave, use your voice, and use it for good.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
Well, after 17 years, there isn't a whole lot that ESD doesn't know about me! I am trying to learn to fly fish, just need to find more time.

What is your favorite book and why? 
I read to escape or learn - so I love books written by James Herriot or the Harry Potter Series. Otherwise you will find me reading gardening, travel and cookbooks!

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
My grandfather Meyerhoff so I could ask him all those things I was too young to understand and ask about our family. Anwar Sadat, who was very controversial but such a brave man for his time. And then Julia Child, because I love her attitude towards food and cooking (and maybe she'd fix the dinner?!).

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday April 16
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Valeria Guzik, Second Grade Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I wanted to do something that mattered and made a difference in someones life. It is amazing to think that we (teachers) have the opportunity to change student's lives and shape the next generation.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
The students. They are the reason I chose to teach. They bring me so much joy everyday. I love seeing the world through their eyes.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I want them to learn to be kind to everyone. I want them to embrace their differences and those of others. I want them to be happy, grateful, and caring.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I love to do fun runs! I've done mud runs, foam runs, regular 5K, and obstacle races.

What is your favorite book and why? 
It is very difficult for me to pick a favorite. I absolutely love reading and am constantly switching between fiction and non-fiction. The first two that come to mind are The Power of Now and The Notebook. I love to learn new things and see things from different perspectives and I also love a good romantic story.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
It would have to be four people. I would love to see my grandparents again. I was too young when I lost them and now that I am an adult, I would love to get to know them better and get to hear their stories. I would ask them so many questions and I would like for them to meet my kids.

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday April 2
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Bobby Weiss, Film and Studio Art Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I started teaching as soon as I got out of art school when I was 22 years old. I was always interested in teaching and helping others learn to tap into their creativity. While I was attending Booker T Washington, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, I would hold drawing classes at my house on the weekends for my friends.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
Everyday is a new and unique challenge when working in the Fine Arts Department. When my students really get into a project and are inspired, I also feel that same joy and enthusiasm that they do.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I want my students to leave the classroom with a set of tools that they can use to unlock their creative potential. This goes well beyond knowing how to use the materials and equipment. It has more to do with having something to say. If a student is enthusiastic about creating something and has found a way to enjoy every step of the process, they are winning. Research, writing, drawing, directing, editing are all important building blocks to creating, and each step of the process requires grace and humility. I hope that my students understand the great responsibility that they have as artistic creators and use this responsibility to express their yearnings.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I am always in the process of learning new things. Most recently I have taken up the study of magic. Magic has actually taught me a lot of interesting things about psychology that I have been able to apply to my painting and film work. Magic, like any other art form, is all about how you weave a technical narrative with an allegorical narrative. The best artists understand that they are producing an illusion that is meant to strike a deep cord in the viewer.

What is your favorite book and why? 
I think my favorite book is Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. The book is composed of letters from Rilke to a young man that has sought his advice about his recent poems. The reader of this book can not help but to feel like Rilke is sending his deepest regards and wishes directly to them.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
Harry Houdini would be first on my list. I think he was one of the greatest magicians and showman that have ever lived. We also share a last name and I would like to hear him talk about his humble beginnings. Second on my list would be Gustave Moreau. His house is now a museum in Paris that attracts many painting enthusiasts. I would like to question him on how he invents and develops his lavish paintings. David Lynch is last but certainly not least. I find his dark and brooding films magnificent and full of mystery. His unique views on eastern philosophy and the power of cinema would be a good stating point for our conversation.

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday March 26
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Bryce Sizemore, Second Grade Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I've always enjoyed working with children, and after coaching for several years I knew that I wanted to make a bigger impact in the field in of education.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
I'm excited to come to ESD everyday because of the genuine enthusiasm my students have for learning.  I love having the opportunity to teach them, but I learn just as much from them as they do from me!

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I hope to help my students have a genuine pride and love for themselves and to be proud of who they are.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
Most people probably wouldn't guess that I was a competitive cheerleader growing up and have coached competitive cheerleading for many years - in fact I've been involved with the sport for almost 18 years!

What is your favorite book and why? 
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. We broke it and need to fix it as best we can.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
My favorite book is "The Story of Ferdinand" because I feel the message is timeless - it's OK to be different, that's what makes the world a great place!

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday March 19
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Marc Horn, Early Childhood Science Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
Watching and learning from teachers in school and college - what they did and did not not do.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
Friendly and welcoming students, faculty, staff, administration and parents.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
Expansively broad perspectives, humility, inclusion/diversity, and life-long learning.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
Astronomy, hiking in rugged wilderness, trumpet playing, poetry, twin sister, and teams that play well for sport.

What is your favorite book and why? 
The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming by David Wallace-Wells. We broke it and need to fix it as best we can.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
President Obama. Dr. Carl Sagan. Dr. Martin Luther King. Gandhi. Intelligence, wisdom, timeless perspectives, and drive for the common good.

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday March 5
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Kristi Cardwell, Middle School Theater Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
My love and inspiration to teach came from growing up watching my Grandfather, Grandmother, and Mother teach. All three taught and worked in a manner that brought out the best in their students, inspiring them to work hard and achieve higher levels of skill.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
My motivation for teaching, centers around the great joy I have for working with my Middle School students. Their energy and heart is what makes me excited to go to work each day. I must also say the wonderful faculty and staff has made ESD a happy place to come to work for these past 26 years.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I want my students and advisees to realize they are wonderfully, uniquely themselves. They are smart, capable, creative, unique and important. I also want them to realize that the qualities of focus, dedication, trust, and kindness take them far and contribute towards them being happy in life.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
Fun facts: 1) My husband and I were married at ESD in the space above the library (then an open room) and held our reception in the Commons (now the Study Commons); 2) I am a third generation Theatre Artist and teacher.

What is your favorite book and why? 
One of my favorite children's books is Miss Twiggley's Tree. From a young age, the idea of living in a tree-house captured my imagination and it's message of inclusivity and how we should treat each other spoke to me and continues to resonate with me today. People who visit my house and look out the back window to the forest of trees in my backyard 20 feet below the house level say, "You live in a tree-house!"

Posted by Katie Voss in Middle School on Tuesday February 26
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Annie Jonas, Fourth Grade Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
I realized I wanted to teach while on a mission trip in high school. I loved working with the children and seeing their eyes light up with excitement and the feeling of accomplishment as they were learning and exploring new subjects. What my students may not know is how often and how much I enjoy learning from them. The relationships and bonds created between a teacher and student are priceless.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
I love my students and I am eager to see what each day will bring for all of us, and what we will learn together.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
No matter what, try! Take the leap!

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I love photography and spending time outside. I especially love taking pictures of my almost six month old son now. I love cheering for Texas Tech and the Green Bay Packers!

What is your favorite book and why? 
My favorite book is Anne of Green Gables. I read it once a year. I love the story of Anne, with an e, because my name is Anne...with an e.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
Oh, this is a tough question! Lin Manuel Miranda because I love the musical, Hamilton. I think he's such a talented musician and writer. He's a perfect example of how writing changes lives. Carol Burnett would be another guest I would love to have a meal with. She has so many stories and I know we could all be laughing. Finally, Julia Child, my hope would be to have dinner prepared and shared with her. I'd love to hear about her life and her lesser known career as a spy.

Posted by Katie Voss in Lower School on Tuesday February 19
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Max Auge, Sixth Grade and Upper School Biology Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
My motivation to teach comes from my passion for learning and my passion for biology’s role in the betterment of world-kind.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
I work alongside students and colleagues who strive to do their best each and every day.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
Challenge yourself, follow your passions, and turn mistakes into opportunities for growth.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
My hobbies include biking, gardening, and dog walks

What is your favorite book and why? 
The Harry Potter series- its message is so uplifting. Love triumphs over evil.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
Charles Darwin & Gregor Mendel- they were contemporaries and giants in our field that never met- to hear them share and discuss their theories on evolution and genetics, two big pieces of the puzzle of life.

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School, Middle School on Tuesday February 12
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Leonardo Arango, Middle School Spanish Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach? 
The joy of seeing my students producing the target language (Spanish) spontaneously and fluently in class.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day? 
Spending time with my advisory and my groups. They respect me, give me so much love and appreciation. That is priceless.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom? 
I not only teach my students how to consciously use Spanish, but also, I help them with digital literacy skills. After two years of having Spanish with me, they can use pretty well Google Apps, Schoology, Screencastify, and other digital resources. 
Also, I teach them how to become critical and independent learners; and most importantly, how to learn from trial and error (by accepting that it is OK to make mistakes because we learn from them).

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself! 
I like to go to the gym and ride motorcycles. I have restored motorcycles in the past, but currently, I have a Mercedes Benz CLK500 convertible that I am restoring (I would be a mechanical engineer if I was good with numbers). 

What is your favorite book and why? 
In the last two years, the Bible has become my favorite book. My wife has a VAST knowledge of the scriptures, and every week I ask one of the many existential questions that I have had for years, and we find the answer in the scriptures. The book has a literal and a symbolic definition for every single event that has ever happened (and will happen) in history. It's mind-blowing.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why? 
Luciano Pavarotti: I would ask him to perform"Pagliacci" one more time. Leonardo da Vinci and Steve Jobs: I would simply listen to the two of them exchanging ideas together. These two man have created things that have revolutionized our world forever.

Posted by Katie Voss in Middle School on Tuesday February 5
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Greg Randall, Upper School English Teacher

What motivated and inspired you to teach?
I was an English major who then went to graduate school, where I taught some freshman composition classes, including a night class at a prison, El Reno (Oklahoma) Federal Reformatory for first-time  offenders ages 18-28. (In one regard, these students were much like the ones that I teach now: they wanted me to take their writing seriously.) I needed a job. Early on in my first one at an independent school, I realized that I enjoyed the daily interaction with students and learning in an environment that promotes creativity and discussion.  Sharing my interest in reading and writing was a terrific way to spend the day.

Why are you excited to come to ESD every day?
Many days my classes address the big questions, the ones that I consider often, and most often by way of the literature. I enjoy listening to my students' views on these questions as well as on the news of the day. Of course, reading closely and writing with commitment and a strong voice--the heart of an English class--are great fun for me. My colleagues, especially during nice weather on the back porch of the dining hall, are engaging conversationalists.

Beyond your subject-area or discipline, what life lesson do you want your students to learn in your classroom?
The natural world is spiritual and medicinal--and we must protect our fragile home.

Tell us a fun or interesting fact about yourself!
Back in the early ‘70s when it was safer and acceptable, I hiked and hitchhiked most summers during college—around Maui, throughout Northern California, and from Oklahoma to the Grand Tetons. I’m less adventurous today. Working out at the YMCA on my way home from school helps me empty and then refocus my mind. When it's halfway decent weather, I spend much of my weekend outside, especially gardening or tinkering, and my favorite vacations are spent hiking in the mountains or on the coast, especially in Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, the Hill Country, and Olympic National Park. Spending time with my grandchildren is a hoot; they remind me of life’s simple joys.  

What is your favorite book and why?
Dickens’ Great Expectations has eccentric characters and a coincidental plot that spirals together. The humor and pathos reflect what life seems to be.

If you could have dinner with three people, alive or not, who would they be and why?
My sister and I talk often about how we would like to know more about our parents, the stories that we have forgotten, stories that are a part of who we are. I would add our grandparents and brother for a long Thanksgiving meal of memories. Even better would be all of my family, past and present, at dinner.

Posted by Katie Voss in Upper School on Tuesday January 29
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Choose groups to clone to:

Lower School

4344 Colgate Avenue
Dallas, Texas, 75225
214-353-5818

Middle & Upper School

4100 Merrell Road
Dallas, Texas, 75229
214-358-4368

Wolf Run Ranch

located near Anna, Texas

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