QPTV Presents Power Women of Queens - Episode 5
In this episode, Luchia meets Dana Horn, a 6th grade English teacher at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Queens.
Growing up Dana Horn had two passions and, while one of them was teaching, it was not the one she immediately pursued. As Robert Frost would say, she took a road “less traveled.” She started working in television and media and, after several years, she decided that it was time to pursue her real passion, teaching.
Dana Horn, 6th Grade English Teacher
6th Grade English Teacher
The Young Women's Leadership School of Queens
I grew up in East Brunswick, NJ, about an hour away from NYC. I attended college at the University of Delaware, where I majored in English. At the time, I had two passions, and while teaching was one of them, it's not the one I immediately pursued. As Robert Frost would say, I took the road "less traveled" and took a shot at working in television and media. I knew I could be a wonderful teacher (though at the time I had no idea how hard teaching really is) but I also knew that teaching is the kind of job that you can't just start and then leave to try something new. Teaching requires a commitment, and I wasn't sure if I was ready to make that commitment at a time when I still had other interests. So, my first job out of college was as a production assistant at CNN. I'd interned there during the summer between my junior and senior years of college and gotten my foot in the door. I loved the fast pace of the work and being part of the "creation" of something new each day, but I worked in financial news; an area that did not interest me at all.
Looking back, it wasn't a great fit, but I couldn't see that at the time. I was laid off in 2001, when AOL and Time Warner merged. I spent the next 5 years working in a variety of other media related jobs, including a 3 year stint as an ad sales traffic coordinator for Time Warner Cable, but I never landed back on a "career path." Though I was good at what I did and well respected by my colleagues, at the end of the day, I had a "job" and not a career. So, in 2006, I decided it was time for me to pursue my other passion and become a teacher. I went back to school full time and got a Masters' degree in Secondary English Education from The City College of New York. I graduated with honors in the Spring of 2008 and began teaching that fall. Two years later, I started working at my current school and that's when I moved to Queens. I never imagined that I'd ever live in Queens, but I can't imagine ever working anyplace else. I absolutely love my school, my students, and my amazing team of leaders and colleagues. I am incredibly lucky.
My passion, without a doubt, is leadership. There's no question that I am a leader, but it's not something I immediately realized about myself. There's a quote I read recently that went something like, "Great leaders don't create followers. They create more leaders." That's how it is with me. A great leader (my current principal, Mala Panday) invested in me and my life changed completely. I saw and understood my potential and each day, I strive to be even better than I was the day before. My passion is "paying it forward;" calling out all the leaders around me, who do not yet know that they are leaders. I do this with my colleagues and with my students, bringing others into leadership along with me. And as for myself, my next step will take me back into the classroom as a student... In the fall, I'm going back to school to earn my SBL/SDL certificate (School Building Leader/School District Leader). It's a 2 year program and when I graduate, I'll have the credentials to become an Assistant Principal, Principal, or Superintendent. For now, I have no immediate plans to become any of those things, but I never want to stop growing. This way, I'll never hit my head on the glass ceiling that may stand between my aspirations and my current certifications.