Danielle Theissen, originally from New York, teaches statistics and Trig and Analysis. Prior to coming to the high school, Theissen worked at Lowell Catholic High School and Redding Memorial High School.
Did you always know that you wanted to go into math?
It was definitely one subject that I really enjoyed in school, but I had to put in a ton of work to do well. I feel like knowing that it can sometimes be really painful helps me as a teacher. You need someone there who is going to support you and give you all the tools and resources you need. I had a teacher who had been with me for the past two years and was part of the reason why I was able to be successful. He had formerly been an accountant and said, “I think you could be a really great teacher.” I gave it a shot, got into my first education class, and just loved it.
What are some of your hobbies outside of school?
Outside of school, I enjoy any type of physical fitness. I’m really into yoga. It is something I practice once or twice a week. I’m still very new to it. My husband and I really love food, all things food and hospitality. We also make a lot of fresh pasta at home. We really like going into a spot and doing a tasting menu if offered and seeing what that chef has to offer and eating through their experience.
How would you compare Brookline High School to the other schools that you have taught at?
It’s hard to say; I’m still getting to know the culture and the students. I would say culturally, there is a huge emphasis on student accountability and that whole mantra of freedom and responsibility. I notice students being vulnerable by owning their work and putting themselves out there. I’m so impressed by all the different programs that are offered here to support students. I just had the opportunity to observe a School Within a School (SWS) class. I’m so taken aback at how evolved the students are in their learning and how they take ownership of it.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in a small town called Marlborough, N.Y.. It’s in the Hudson Valley, so not upstate, but just above the city, a rural kind of apple farming town, pretty small. There is just so much beautiful scenery. The Hudson River is there, places to walk, and restaurants to eat at. We just love getting out and back to our home routes and seeing our family.
How would you compare Marlborough to Brookline?
It was not similar to Brookline. It had lots of small-town vibes; everyone knew each other. I graduated with 184 students. I did not get to meet people who were different from me. It took me going to college and moving out to Boston to really see what the world has to offer. I actually moved here two months before the Boston Marathon Bombing. In a way, such a tragic, horrifying event made me feel like I was a part of this city. The high school is so much more diverse than the town I grew up in and so much more diverse than the school I’m coming from.
What is one piece of advice that you would give to your high school self?
I took my academics very seriously, and I would say, probably to take it a little more lightheartedly and just enjoy the ride. Be in the moment.