Alumnus Dave Schrenzel received his Master of Arts in Teacher + Single Subject (Math) Teaching Credential from UCI in 2017. This year he was selected as one of four Teachers of Promise in the Irvine Unified School District. Below, he shares his perspective on the importance of education and the influence teachers can have on the lives of their students.
I became acutely interested in becoming a teacher during my senior year at El Toro High School. I was inspired by the teacher of a Contemporary World Issues elective, Mr. Utt. He effortlessly brought the joy of cultivating knowledge and discussing ideas into the classroom and helped me recognize the impact that a single teacher can have on the lives of many.
I next attended UCLA where I majored in Economics with a minor in Political Science. Upon graduation, I considered going straight into teaching but decided instead to get a different type of job since I had only seen the world from the inside of a classroom and wanted to expand my horizons. I worked in consulting and market research in LA for several years, but grew disillusioned since I didn’t feel like I was having a directly positive impact on the world or on my community.
So, I left the business world to pursue my real passion in education. I chose to attend the Master of Arts in Teaching program at UCI because of its sterling reputation. I valued the research-driven instruction of effective teaching practices, and especially my methods teacher Jeff Hruby’s approach to mathematics education. UCI helped reshape my understanding of teaching by giving me a strong foundation of student-centered pedagogy, practical classroom strategies, and a professional growth mindset. UCI is also where I met Shay Sharp, a classmate of mine in the Masters program who is now my fiancée!
After UCI, I was hired at Plaza Vista School in the Irvine Unified School District where I have now taught for two years. Teaching gives me the unique ability to connect with hundreds of young minds of all different backgrounds and perspectives. I hold the strong belief that every student has the capacity to grow and succeed. My goal as an educator is to elevate each of students as high as possible without a ceiling, and to guide each along their own individual paths to success.
This year, I was selected for IUSD’s Teacher of Promise award, given annually to teachers in their first two years of teaching. I think that I was recognized for the strong rapport I develop with every student, for making math class engaging and enjoyable, and for supporting all students on their path to mastery. In the years ahead, I hope to continue enriching young minds and inspiring their intellectual curiosity and confidence.