HYATTSVILLE – Danielle Luckett is the type of educator who, when she sees her students in need, steps up to the plate and meets that need.
Luckett is an instructional lead teacher at Hyattsville Middle School and has spent all 12 years of her education career at the same school she attended as a child.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” she said. “I always knew I wanted to be an educator, but what made me choose English – when I went to the University of Maryland College Park, I did not feel as prepared as my peers.”
Luckett grew up in Seat Pleasant and “kept it all in Prince George’s County” by attending Bladensburg High School and the University of Maryland.
Although not everybody takes the same path, Luckett said she felt a need to come back to the community after she earned her degree at Maryland, where she sought out additional English courses because it was her weakness.
Luckett said she wanted to come back to her community and fill in the gaps in education that she had experienced while in school, specifically in reading and writing. And when she found that, even with that gap filled, students were still struggling, she decided to seek another degree that would help her reach them even better.
“That’s what made me go back to get my master’s as a reading specialist, so that now when I have the students that come to me who are so far behind, I know what tools I need to use to help them,” she said about her degree from Trinity University. “I wanted to be the one to push students and make sure they’re prepared.”
For Luckett, education is all about opportunities and exposure. She loves to introduce her students to new ideas and take them on trips to see first-hand the history of historic sites or the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.
“It’s one thing to read about something, but it’s another thing to see it, feel it, touch it. And some of our students have never been to the Smithsonian and they live right here. So one of the passions that I have is getting them outside of the four walls of the schoolhouse,” she said.
These days, Luckett is spending less time in the classroom and more time teaching those in the front of it. As an instructional lead teacher Luckett wears many hats, but her first and foremost job is to assist, train and lead struggling and new teachers in her school and help them meet the needs of their students.
And helping those teachers is a part of a passion for Luckett. She said when she returned to Hyattsville Middle to teach, three of her own teachers from the time she spent at the school as a child were still there and they mentored her through a rough first year. In a way, she said, she is passing that mentorship on.
“That’s what made it a joy and made it a little bit easier, because I had a support system already,” Luckett said. “And we have a lot of teachers that need that kind of support.”