Teacher Spotlight: Dean Nguyen

With Teacher Appreciation Week right around the corner, IDEA Public Schools sat down with an amazing IDEA educator, Dean Nguyen, an ELA Teacher at IDEA Academy San Benito and Rio Grande Valley native.  Dean chats about giving back to the community he grew up in and IDEA’s ambitious College For All philosophy.   

What drew you to apply to work at IDEA?

Upon graduating I knew I wanted to start my teaching career helping kids in the San Benito, Texas community.  I knew IDEA Public Schools had a different vision—that all students deserved an excellent education, no excuses.  IDEA gave me the opportunity to enter the classroom. Three years later I’m still here, doing all I can to make a difference in my students’ lives.

What do you love about working at IDEA?

I love the bonds I have created with my kids and their families. Being able to make connections with these kids and being someone they look up to is what I love. Having students tell me their sister or brother had me the year before, and that they were so excited for my class gives me a lot of satisfaction. That’s what I love about working at IDEA—fostering relationships in a Team & Family organization. 

What is challenging about working at IDEA?

There are no REAL challenges to working at IDEA—just opportunities for growth, learning, and development.  I’ve learned to stay passionate, goal-orientated, driven, and committed, thanks to support from IDEA colleagues, instructional coaches, and principals. 

How is your work impacting students?

My students learn life lessons every day, whether I’m playing the role of Big Brother, Dad, or Mom. Basically I am whoever my kids need me to be. They receive a listening ear and a caring heart.  At IDEA, we are all about college readiness.  My campus, IDEA San Benito, has taken that a step further and offers our scholars life readiness. With Interim assessments just wrapping up, I have had kids grow over 20 points in a span of just 9 weeks.  Currently, I’m only 18 students away from meeting my student achievement goal of 90% Level II and Level III on the end-of-year STAAR test.  We are so close!  My students and I are on a mission to shine. 

What is it like teaching in the community you grew up in?

Knowing that I was able to stay and make an impact in San Benito means the world to me. Living in San Benito most of my life, I saw so many kids on the wrong path; little to zero information about college was given to them.  Many didn’t even know that college was an option for them.  Here at IDEA, where we believe in College For All. The kids from my community now realize that their dream of college can become a reality.  In fact, 100% of IDEA graduates have been accepted to college for the last 11 years!  Seeing IDEA families outside the school, in our community, and having parents thank me for what I am doing for their kids, is a joy I wouldn’t trade for anything.  

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