You know the greatest thing about Solutions 8? The people.
I know, I know; we say it all the time. But seriously. I have written a handful of these employee spotlight blogs now, and every time I talk to someone new, I am reminded of how incredibly diverse and extraordinary our team is.
Take Daneen Goncalves, for example.
One of our newest members, Daneen is the Community Manager for Nido Marketing, an extension of Solutions 8 that focuses exclusively on helping Montessori schools grow and reach more families through digital marketing.
The position was a perfect fit for Daneen, who holds an AMI elementary diploma, an M.Ed in Montessori education, and certification in the Developmental Environmental Rating Scale (DERS) and the Nurtured Heart Approach. She was also a community director at Bergamo Montessori School in Sacramento, California and spent eight years teaching in the classroom.
Daneen enjoys working with other dedicated Montessorians who want to expand their reach through marketing. When asked what a typical day on the job might look like, she says she spends a big chunk of her time connecting with clients to optimize their digital marketing campaigns. Always thinking about the needs of today’s Montessori schools, she also works to build a stronger service portfolio for Nido Marketing and expand its member community. This includes creating content, webinars, and parent resources as well as improving the admissions processes.
Obviously, Daneen has a passion for working with children and families, and she says the best part about her job now is that she gets to continue working to grow the presence of Montessori education around the world.
And speaking of families, Daneen’s is pretty adorable. It includes her husband, Chesther, whom she met while salsa dancing, and her two boys. Kayson is five years old and definitely keeps mom and dad on their toes. Daneen says she has to have her A-game on the moment he wakes up because he is chock full of questions. Eli, who is just a year, sounds a little more laid back than his big bro. He loves to sleep (apparently 12 hours a night, plus naps!) and smiles at everyone he meets.
“Children have so much to offer this world,” says Daneen. “If we can just take a moment to notice them, honor them, and guide them, our world will become a better place.” She told me her family life is continually influenced by the principles of Montessori education, and right now they are working to become a bilingual family. How cool is that? And one more thing: Her favorite quote is this one by Frederick Douglas:
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.
She even has the bumper sticker on her car, which should tell you everything you need to know about how deeply Daneen’s passion runs.
She and her family live in Minnesota, a place she says she’s tried to leave but that keeps pulling her back. She describes the weather as “temperamental and frustrating” but says the sheer beauty of the northern state is worth it, even if she is currently pining for a little sun and warmth. (I mean, have you seen their weather up there this winter? Yikes!) Daneen also loves the great breweries and awesome music scene in her home state.
When she’s not working, she likes to stay active—paddleboarding on one of Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes, working out at the gym, or pedaling on her Peloton bike. She and her family also love spending time outdoors together, hiking and … wait for it … dirt bike racing! “We are a pretty adventurous family,” says Daneen, which I suspect may be a bit of an understatement. The family also loves to travel together, and at least once a year (preferably during the winter months), they try to visit Chesther’s family in Brazil.
Interesting fact: Daneen has been to more than 20 countries on five different continents. (Take that, travel slackers!) When choosing destinations, she says she often looks for place with a coastline because the ocean is her “reset” button. However, her favorite place is still the first country she ever visited—New Zealand. She says the beauty there is something out of a storybook, made more magical by the fact that it is so isolated from the rest of the world. Oh, and apparently the people are a lot like Minnesotans, only with a cooler accent.
But for as much as she likes to travel, Daneen is remarkably grounded. Her family likely has a lot to do with that.
“They are my heart,” she says. “They help me balance the choices I make so that I’m able to be the best mother and wife I can be.” If she won the lottery tomorrow, Daneen says the first three things she would do are help her parents retire, buy 20 acres of land on which to build a house for her family, and set aside money for college for her kids.
What inspires her most?
“When I come across someone that has been through so much and still finds the strength to push through. It amazes me how much struggle people can go through. I love searching for those people, and listening to their stories. I’ve been fortunate enough to meet people from all over the world like this. It has shaped my perspective in life, and reminds me that my frustrations are trivial in comparison. We all have a story, and we never know what someone has been through.”
As life philosophies go, Daneen’s is pretty solid. Now imagine all of that extraordinary compassion poured into helping Montessori schools and their families raise future generations of caring, confident, and independent children.
Yeah, you can see why we think she’s so great.