Deanna Catanzaro began her journey in education as an undergraduate at New York University, where she earned dual degrees in Childhood Education and Special Education, as well as a minor in Psychology. Eager to begin her dream job as a teacher, Deanna began teaching in a second grade ICT class the fall after she graduated from NYU, while she simultaneously began pursuing her Masters Degree in Literacy from Hunter College. For the next six years, Deanna served as one of three founding teachers at PS 267 in District 2 where she taught across the primary grades in various classroom settings.
As a teacher helping to grow and strengthen a new school, Deanna collaborated daily with her colleagues and administrators in order to develop engaging curricula accessible to all learners in literacy and mathematics. She took on several leadership roles, including serving as the lead teacher on the kindergarten team and mentoring first and second year teachers. Deanna also co-planned and facilitated several workshops for parents on the importance of developmentally appropriate mathematics instruction.
During her years as a classroom teacher, Deanna was fortunate to work closely with Metamorphosis coaches Antonia Cameron and Stephanie Slabic, as well as participate in numerous Institutes and Teaching Learning Communities. Deanna found her work with Metamorphosis to be transformational, in both her own teaching practice and philosophies about mathematics instruction. She grew fascinated with the open-ended, authentic approach to teaching and learning mathematics, where students construct their own deep understandings of big ideas and strategies through guided investigations, minilessons, and games.
Q: What are you most passionate about in education?
I’m passionate about research and best practices surrounding the ways in which individuals can develop a growth mindset. This, in conjunction with cultivating strong habits of mind within learners, has driven much of my teaching and coaching over the last few years. I have seen how this work turns individuals into thoughtful problem solvers and brave risk-takers in mathematics, and how this way of thinking transfers into other aspects of life.
Q: What do you love about Metamorphosis?
I love how Metamorphosis views everyone as a learner. There is always new territory to explore and thinking to be revised, and Metamorphosis coaches will not only guide you along that journey, but will also go along for the ride themselves.
Q: What do you want to influence in education?
I want to help teachers and administrators understand the importance of play in all aspects of learning. When kids (and adults) have the opportunity to “play” with ideas, learning becomes more meaningful and has more traction.