Daniela Munteanu, High School Chemistry Teacher, didn't always know she wanted to go into the Sciences. Throughout most of her childhood in Romania, Daniela wanted to be a playwright. However, in going to a STEM high school in her hometown, she found her true passion for science.
Daniela went on to receive Bachelors, and Masters Degrees in Chemistry and Physics Education from Polytechnic University in Romania, and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. "Science is a universal language," she said. "When I came to the United States, all I needed to do was learn English to be able to teach it. Science truly brings people together."
Due to uncertainty caused by political unrest in Romania, Daniela made the decision to come to the United States in 1998 after winning the Green Card Lottery. After teaching in a charter school for three years, Daniela found her home away from home at JDS in 2002. "JDS has been family to me," Daniela said. With her family spread all over the world, finding her second family within the JDS community has been a gift. "When I broke my arm, school parents and colleagues were kind enough to send me dinners, check up on me, and one family even sent in lunch for me each day. I know that if I need help I will always be able to find it here."
A true highlight for Daniela is her relationships with the students. "Our kids show so much kindness," Daniela said. "They will say thank you for the lesson, which is a small thing, but that means a lot. Then, having those students then come back to share their success after graduation is something I look forward to."
Daniela had a special relationship with a group of students from the Class of 2017 who nicknamed themselves "Munteanu's Children," which they had embroidered on a lab coat as a gift for her. This was the last group of students that were taught by Daniela from 8th-12th grades, and over the course of their four years in the classroom together they created long-lasting bonds.
Outside of school, Daniela enjoys reading, visiting with her son, and sewing--you can even see Daniela wearing her own creations in the lab. Another passion for Daniela is travel. "I travel with the intention of meeting new people. I want to share life experiences and learn something."
Here at home, Daniela will be in the lab, waiting to share her love of science and structure with the next generations of JDS students.