At the beginning of this semester, St. Martin’s Episcopal School welcomed Upper School Math Teacher Daniel Rees into the upper school.
Rees grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana and attended Teurlings Catholic High School. Before coming to St. Martin’s, Rees received an undergraduate degree in Biological Engineering at Louisiana State University and then pursued graduate school at Tulane University, where he was involved in an interdisciplinary program focused on entrepreneurship and life sciences.
Rees went from working with about six people on a weekly basis to working with 200 people at St. Martin’s. Despite the big jump, his biggest challenge isn’t interacting with more people.
“I think the hardest thing is probably learning what to expect from the students and what they should expect from me,” Rees said.
After all, Rees is fresh out of graduate school and completely new to teaching, but he’s doing his best to adjust. Even so, according to Rees, he’s always enjoyed teaching, as he’s been tutoring since high school. His interest in math began at a young age and was the reason he studied engineering. Math has always seemed easy to Rees.
St. Martin’s, according to Rees, is very youthful and welcoming.
Even though Rees has never held a teaching position before, factors that led to his hiring included his mathematical capabilities, his work experience in engineering, and the fact that he had a good head on his shoulders, according to Middle and Upper School Math Teacher Jordan Hill.
As part of the interview process, Rees had to teach a class to see how well he fit with the students, as well as to evaluate his teaching style in the classroom. After observing Rees in the classroom, the math department determined he would be a good fit for St. Martin’s. Math Department Chair Julie Laskay liked his confidence and knowledge-base, as well as his calm manner. According to Laskay, it was also comforting knowing Rees attended a private high school and would thereby be familiar with the feel of a smaller school.
“He knows the experience of attending a private high school with small classes and where relationships matter,” Laskay said.