Brian Pick is the Chief of Teaching and Learning for DC Public Schools.
1 | Where did you grow up and what was it like?
Park Ridge, Illinois. A quiet, middle-class suburb of Chicago – expect for all the airplanes. My house was right under the final approach for O’Hare International Airport. It’s also Hillary Clinton’s hometown and to quote Bill Clinton’s Democratic National Convention speech, Park Ridge is “a perfect example of post-World War II middle class America, street after street of nice houses, great schools, good parks, a big public swimming pool, and almost all white."
2 | What do you like most about where you live now?
I live between the U Street/Shaw and Columbia Heights neighborhoods in DC, and I love it. I love the food, music, entertainment, and community. And I can walk to everything. Sold my car over eight years ago.
3 | What is your favorite school memory?
I have so many amazing memories. Teachers are at the center of them. And most involve building something: whether a robot in second grade, a space ship in third grade, friendships in middle school, or my self-identity in high school.
4 | Which leader (alive or not, in any field) do you most admire?
John Lewis. I read parts of his biography, Walking with the Wind, to my fourth graders. Meeting him in his office a few years ago for an hour-long conversation about race, equity, and his new graphic novel series was a personal and professional highlight.
5 | When was the first time you thought about working in education?
My high school PE teacher and student council sponsor told me that she hoped I worked in a people-centered field. That was probably the first time I thought about education as a career. Plus, I’ve always loved learning – so what better field to be in than the one with learning at the heart of it.
6 | What has been your most memorable moment working in education?
The day our first group of DCPS students left for their study abroad trip. This past summer, nearly 400 eighth and 11th graders participated in one of 18 trips to 12 countries. Global travel has meant so much to me and seeing our student experience it is incredible. Every student deserves a world of possibilities!
7 | What do you love about your job?
Working with amazing people. The students, families, and staff of DCPS are committed, smart, and fun. I genuinely feel blessed.
8 | If you had a magic wand, what’s one thing you would fix or change?
Amazing instruction is magic. Magical to watch. Magical to experience. I want every student to experience amazing, magical, life-changing instruction every day.
9 | What are you still learning to do?
Being a better listener. We give so much power to being able to speak, read, and write well. But lasting power comes from being able to listen well.
10 | What or who inspires you?
My mom. Period. Full stop.