Dayna Martin

  • Early Childhood Education - bilingual
  • Class of 2016
Dallas, Texas
Career Goal:
To be the next superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District

Exploring Education Policy for Good

Dayna is passionate about improving educational opportunities in the Dallas neighborhood where she grew up. The early childhood education major regularly returns to her high school to help with college recruiting efforts and hopes to eventually inform educational policy on the district level as a superintendent.

Dayna is a dreamer.

As a high school student in East Dallas, Dayna Martin wasn’t certain she would have the opportunity to go to college. University attendance rates at her school were below average, and no one in her family had earned a degree. When she learned she was chosen to join the prestigious Gates Millennium Scholars Program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it changed everything.

“I wasn’t really thinking about going to my dream university because it just wasn’t realistic,” explains Dayna. “Once I received the Gates Millennium, I chose TCU because I wanted to go somewhere different — somewhere I was going to be challenged and where I knew I would grow.”

She decided to pursue a degree in education after volunteering as a pre-K to eighth grade teacher at a local community center the summer before starting college.

“I never really thought about education until it hit me that a lot of the problems I had were also reflected in those students,” she says. “Being a teacher to kids like me — who lived in the same neighborhood and community — really motivated me to pursue something in education.”

Dayna Martin Dallas ISD

Dayna’s confidence was shaken during her first semester at TCU as she adjusted to the demands of a college schedule, but thanks to the support of the dean and her professors, she soon hit a groove. By her second semester, Dayna made the Dean’s List and later joined TCU’s Global Academy, which will give her the opportunity to travel to Panama over spring break to work with nonprofits and learn about sustainability.

She also serves as president of TCU’s United Latino Association and was recently selected to join the D.R.I.V.E program in the College of Education for top juniors and seniors interested in educational leadership.

“Last summer, I interned with the Dallas ISD’s superintendent, Mike Miles, so I saw a side of education I was never exposed as a Dallas ISD student,” Dayna explains. “Just seeing the things that they do on a district and citywide scale is amazing. It’s a tough job, but I liked being able to make a bigger impact.”

Dayna is passionate about improving educational policy, as well. This year, she heads to Austin as a lobbyist for the Tuition Equalization Grant and plans to change the way we educate our students from low-socioeconomic status and disadvantaged communities.

“I am a firm believer that ‘gifted and talented’ students exist anywhere. Even in places like East Dallas where I am from.”

“I know I want to work either in education administration on a district level or education in public policy,” says Dayna. “I guess my dream job is to become the next superintendent of Dallas ISD. I want to give back to my community and my city.”