Thomas Jefferson

High School | Home of the Spartans

Chillin’ with Starbuck(s)

Posted 05/18/2018 by Maggie Foos

Starbuck enjoys her international travels. photo courtesy of Dana Starbuck

Dana Starbuck brings joy to the TJ community.

Math teacher Dana Starbuck is loved by both faculty and students alike. This year is her 22nd year of teaching; her first job in education was at Henry Middle School, before moving on to Merrill Middle School. To begin her high school teaching career, she taught at South High School, and finally ended up at TJ. “I enjoy interacting with the students. I love when kids dive in and start to enjoy the math,” Starbuck emphasized. Before becoming a teacher in 1995, she was a hairdresser. She loved it because she was able to work with the public, and the money she earned put her through college, securing her a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and her Masters in Secondary Education.

Starbuck took on the role of the National Honor Society (NHS) sponsor three years ago. She believes it is important for students to do community service and learn about themselves in the process. It’s a great avenue for students to discover who they want to be and what they want to do after high school. Starbuck is extremely passionate about what she does in NHS, and has facilitated many community service trips. In 2017, a group of Spartans drove to Red Rocks in Morrison, Colorado and worked with Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado. They spent a day rebuilding hiking trails and cleaning up the hiking areas. She also helped raise money for the Make a Wish foundation this year with a “miracle moment” during a recent pep rally. Students were able to donate money towards someone’s wish, and ended up raising a total of $400 for the cause. However, this only scratches the surface of the amazing work done by NHS.

Starbuck also brings excitement to her classroom. She not only creates an intense learning environment, but also enjoys herself while interacting with students. Sophomore Pana Reiva explained, “My favorite thing about Ms. Starbuck is her passion to teach every one of her students no matter how long it may take. Also, she takes time out of her day to sing you a birthday song.” This is one of the many things students love about her. She makes sure to pick them out on their birthday to sing them her special birthday song, and it shows her dedication to her students in areas other than math.

In her free time, Starbuck enjoys taking care of her house and her garden. Her love for dogs gives her an opportunity to hike and spend time outside, which she enjoys. She is also passionate about her favorite band, U2, and has even traveled to Ireland to see them. However, Starbuck loved Ireland for reasons other than U2’s performance. “It’s such a friendly country, and the scenery there is every shade of green you can imagine. The rural communities were so cool with the sheep farms. I want to go back there again someday. I loved it,” Starbuck reflected.  

The TJ community is very thankful for Starbuck’s hard work and dedication to her students.  She takes time out of her day to speak to students and assist them in any way possible, including topics other than math. Starbuck is a great addition to the TJ community, and the school would not be the same without her bubbly spirit and passion driven teaching.