At Discovery, I’m excited to be teaching our computer science class to all students from pre-kindergarten to fifth grade. Having computer science instruction at the elementary level provides students a unique opportunity to learn about the process of creating software and hardware solutions. Based on the Virginia Computer Science Standards, the course will give students a space to learn about algorithms and programming, computing systems, cybersecurity, data and analysis, impacts of computing, and networking and the Internet. Learning the language of computers gives students a significant advantage in their high-technology world.
I graduated with a B.S. in computer science from University of Maryland College Park in 1991. After graduation I worked in the technology sector for 16 years, moving from software engineer to enterprise IT architect. While I had a successful technology career, I began to feel that something was missing. I discovered teaching as an Odyssey of the Mind coach, where I experienced first hand the learning power and intelligence of young students. I was hooked. I went back to school at George Mason University where I earned my M.Ed. in elementary education in 2009. I spent my first five years as a teacher at Arlington Science Focus School teaching fifth and fourth grade. After receiving teacher of the year honors, I wanted to try the instructional technology coaching role and was ecstatic to be selected as the first instructional technology coach at Discovery Elementary in April 2015, as the second employee of the new school. There I laid the groundwork for the school’s educational technology culture. While thoroughly enjoying this role, I began to miss working closely with students and decided to go back into the classroom in August 2016. After two years teaching fifth-grade writing, I was able to help define the new offering of computer science to all students. I became the computer science teacher in August 2018.
While I have many interests, there are a few that capture most of my spare time. Firstly, I am a father of three teen boys and have lived in Arlington with my wife, near Westover, since 2004. Secondly, I am an avid photographer specializing in portraits, nature, and macro photography. My portfolio grows at http://www.gregrusk.com. Thirdly, I am a casual musician, enjoying guitar and mandolin. Lastly, but probably one of most rejuvenating, I love to get outdoors and explore the quiet and peace of nature by hiking, biking, and camping.
A book that reveals something about me is The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. In this novel, the main character, who has experienced adversity in his earlier childhood, chooses to withdraw from everyone around him. Through happenstance, he finds a caged tiger in the woods of Florida. After developing a bond with the tiger, the boy makes a bold choice, that leads him to discover truths about himself and his own emotional cage. As an educator, my greatest goal is to help students break out of their “cages” by showing them how to grow beyond what they think their limits are.