Danielle grew up in New York State before moving to Connecticut for high school, and has lived in Brooklyn, Boston and Stamford. Today she calls Westville home, a New Haven neighborhood a few blocks from downtown, where Danielle makes the most of a rich arts culture by performing live music and visiting the Yale University Art Gallery as often as possible. She is the oldest of three siblings in a non-traditional family, an experience that has shaped her perspective on community, mentorship and communications.
Danielle earned a bachelor’s degree with distinction in journalism from Northeastern University. There, she had the opportunity to report from the Middle East, as well as work at WNYC (93.9), The Boston Globe and a boutique music publication called Wax Poetics. After graduation, Danielle became the youngest person to serve on her hometown school board, a position that ultimately led her to The Hour Newspaper in Norwalk, Conn., where she reported on public education in one of Connecticut’s most socioeconomically diverse cities and endeavored to close information and access gaps between the Board of Education, community members and local parents.
Her exposure to Connecticut’s worst-in-the-nation achievement gap and the real-life implications of education policy for those in the greatest need led her to 50CAN, where she served as the New York campaign’s public affairs manager and eventually the national team’s copywriting manager. Prior to returning to 50CAN in 2018, Danielle managed the multimillion-dollar grants program for Ability Beyond, a nonprofit that empowers people with disabilities to achieve independence, inclusion and purpose through competitive employment and meaningful social networks.
I aspire to be like Carl Jung. Here’s why:
“We cannot change anything until we accept it.” The radical Swiss psychoanalyst Carl Jung pushed the boundaries of his field to dignify and explore the unconscious, even when it meant that he would compromise his place in the institutions where he had built an identity. By taking an unseen world seriously, Jung took individuals seriously, as well, and believed the richest life was lived when people answered a call from inside to become themselves in a society that didn’t always make that journey an acceptable priority. When individuals express themselves with passion and honesty, it creates a chain-reaction of authenticity, learning and endless curiosity–qualities that I strive to embody in my advocacy, professional work and creative projects.
Why I love my job:
Everything starts with education. The powerhouse local advocates who pioneer education policy campaigns across the country are working to realize a vision of the future that takes learning beyond the limiting status-quo, empowering every child to pursue the path that will carry them, and all around them, forward. Supporting this work through my lifelong pastime of writing is an honor that continuously inspires. It is a privilege to play a hand in sharing stories that could change public education for generations to come.
My connection to public schools:
I’m the product of public schools and a former school board member, but I forged my strongest connection to public education while reporting in Norwalk, Conn., and developing life-changing relationships with students, families, teachers, principals, union leaders and elected officials. There I began to understand through the eyes of other people the limitless potential of public schools to become a proving ground for what’s possible–and the challenges we must overcome to give every kid a chance, as I was privileged to have, at self-actualizing with an entire community invested in their future.
What I’m bad at:
Asking for directions instead of tinkering forever, going to sleep on time and math.
This image represents why I work at 50CAN:
My parents were right, of course, and I didn’t realize until I became an adult how much responsibility–and how much sacrifice–surrounds the commitment to provide a child with every opportunity they deserve to become the person they’re meant to be. When I was born, my mom was just a young woman herself. She and my dad came from modest backgrounds and modest means; in fact, my dad left school in eighth grade after years of discouragement from teachers who didn’t understand how to empower challenging kids. That didn’t stop Nancy and John from putting my future front and center and doing whatever they could to get me into great schools. The truth is, every kid deserves that shot–not just because they will succeed, but because they will uplift their communities along the way. I could never thank my parents enough for their sacrifices. In our country, no family should have to forsake their economic stability, uproot their homes or put everything on the line to make sure their kids have access to the best learning environments.