Faculty in Focus: 5 Things We Learned About Toni Dunlap

1. What is the PDS difference, in your opinion?

I first came to PDS as a Penn Fellow and part-time Computer Science (CS) teacher via our School's partnership with the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. PDS stood out to me as a school that values the most current expertise in teaching and learning, which the Penn partnership offers access to, combined with a commitment to expanding student exposure and access to STEAM courses. As someone who went to K-12 schools where programming classes were not an option, the idea of joining a school community that prioritizes exposing young students to the world of computer science was very important to me. So when the opportunity presented itself to be involved in the development of a CS program designed for PDS middle schoolers, I was so excited! 

2. What inspires you in your career?

As a teacher I am inspired by quotes that help students connect character education to academic education. I strongly believe that the value of an individual’s academic skills—their ability to perform well on tests, master curriculum and turn in all their work on time, for example, is only as great as their positive character traits. I always ask myself, “How am I using my skills and talents to make a difference, build positive communities and change the world for the better?”


3. What are some of your interests outside of school?

I really enjoy playing tennis, singing, dancing and watching a good movie or tv show in my free time. My favorite genres are action, drama and comedy! Plus, in addition to using the "left" side of my brain to teach logic and programming to my students, I also love using my "right" side, the creative side, for performing arts, scriptwriting and video production!

4. What are three words that friends or family would use to describe you?

Understanding, Unique, Universal

5. What is one thing you cannot live without?

MUSIC! There's rarely a day that goes by that I don't listen to music. I play songs in my classrooms, and if you catch me off campus you're likely to find me with headphones on. Can't forget to mention that I truly can't live without God, the higher power that keeps me going and grounded on a daily basis.

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