Teach For All spoke to 2016 Global Teacher Prize Top 50 finalist, Dana Narvaiša, an Iespejama Misija (Mission Possible) alumna, and the principal and co-founder of the Cēsu Jaunā school in Latvia. Dana’s inspiring journey and commitment to education is paving the way to change mindsets and the educational system in her country.
You were one of 50 finalists out of 8,000 for the Global Teacher Prize—can you share a bit about the specific reasons you were nominated?
The criteria for nomination is not easy and it must be reflected in your work—as a teacher, you have to be innovative, show results, and at the same time, be able to involve the wider community in your lessons and include global values in your teaching.
What inspired you to become a teacher?
I had never actually thought about becoming a teacher, much less set up my own school. I studied Tourism Management in my undergrad and then Communications Studies in my Masters and it was during this time that I decided to apply to Mission Possible. I had always worked with children and youth and therefore Mission Possible was a natural step. For example, when I was in high school, I founded the Valmiera Youth Council. It was the first organization in my town that was created and led by youth.
What led you to set up and head a school?
During my time at Mission Possible, I wanted to set up my own business and invest in education. But then I thought that instead of investing I could actually implement the change needed in education. I saw on Twitter that a group of parents who were establishing a nonprofit school were looking for a principal. So I joined them—it’s one thing having an idea, it’s another to execute that idea and that’s what I did. The school was established three years ago with 9 students. We will start the next academic year with 90 students—this is a major achievement for us.
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