Daniel Choi

Daniel is a Pacific Northwest Native with a passion for music, analytics, and teaching. Part time music instructor, Daniel manages his days between legal agreements and showing his students the basics of drumming.

Graduating from University of Oregon, he went on to pursue a career that allowed him to incorporate his love for education and legal work. Now, he reflects on his career and how he juggles his time between passions.

How Did you meet CSC?

After graduating from University of Oregon, I moved to Seattle and worked in an audiovisual field. Through that job, I fell into the legal field on accident because they needed someone who had legal knowledge and could work in court settings. Sometime later I was looking for a change in pace and scenery, I moved to Portland.

In Portland, I fell in love with the music scene and opportunities available. Utilizing my new found legal skills, I was seeking a place that would allow flexibility and valued my interest in my part-time teaching. The stars aligned when I found Charter School Capital. Not only did they incorporate my passion for legal but they genuinely valued education.

How would you describe CSC and your position?

At Charter School Capital, we provide products and services to charter schools. By working one-on-one with schools, we are able to pinpoint troubles they may have and create specific solutions.

In the Underwriting department we are part of that problem-solving umbrella. Once a school has been inquired, we are one of the blocks that do research into the school, make sure their paperwork is in order, and create contracts. We tend to fill the gaps of information for schools when creating, filing, and reviewing the paperwork.

What brings you joy?

Professionally, working with my team brings me joy. We have a comfortable balance, in that we have a close-knit culture while being able to work independently. My team’s trust and accountability makes my work life enjoyable.
Personally, keeping busy, doing the things I love, and achieving my goals.

When did you learn about this line of work? What called you to it?

When I first started, I had no idea what charter schools were. But with the help of my team I’ve learned much, and I’ve come to admire them. My girlfriend is a teacher and I’m a part-time instructor, so the idea of equal access to education touches close to home for me. What keeps me going is knowing that my work have real outcomes that can help shape students’ lives.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Growing up, I never had a distinct job in mind, but my career always leaned towards music. Playing the drums has been a part of me my whole life; being able to play and enjoy music all I’ve ever had in mind when it came to my future.

Over the years, what wisdom have you learned?

Listen to your intuition and take the time to look around before you rush to the next thing going on in front of you.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Although times can look bleak and feel uncertain; I love having a routine. In my day, whether working or teaching I like the tangibility of the outcomes. Everything I do has a goal, so working towards it everyday makes me want to come back the next day to get the task done.

What’s something about you that might be surprising?

I’ve been teaching the drums to folks in the community since college. Every day when I leave the office, when most go home to their families, I immediately go teach til 9pm. On the weekends, I practice with my band called the Evolver Ocelot.
The drums have always been my favorite instrument because they engage your whole body, playing drums focuses you on the rhythm, you’re just freely playing. The youngest student I’ve ever taught was 5, and my most recent has been a mother/daughter duo. Being able to show someone the joy and excitement of music drives my passion for teaching.

Daniel Choi

If you could create a new class subject, what would it be?

Career Exploration. A class dedicated to finding your genuine passions and the career pathways that are available to you, how to get there, and a realistic picture of what that is like. Growing up I didn’t know anyone who was a doctor or lawyer, so those pathways seemed intangible. A class that would show students from minorities and underrepresented demoggraphics that it is possible to become anything they want.

In your view, what does the world need more of? Less of?

More inclusiveness, advocacy, and understanding.
Less power and economic disparity.

What do you hope to see for the future of Charter Schools?

My hope is that the number of charter schools continue to increase and be understood on a larger scale. As I’ve come to be familiar with charters, I view them as an even playing field for students of all backgrounds, dynamics, and classes. The schools we serve have such a large range of populations, from focusing on students who are houseless to incarcerated to creating trilingual graduates. By continuing to acknowledge and support these fringe populations and demographics, we serve a public benefit.

What do you hope to see for the Future of CSC?

Continue expanding and leading by example in the charter school movement. For finance groups we have shown our ability to adapt, innovate, and seek new opportunities. My hope is that we continue at the momentum that we’ve created.

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Since the company’s inception in 2006, Charter School Capital has been committed to the success of charter schools. We help schools access, leverage, and sustain the resources charter schools need to thrive, allowing them to focus on what matters most – educating students. Our depth of experience working with charter school leaders and our knowledge of how to address charter school financial and operational needs have allowed us to provide over $1.8 billion in support of 600 charter schools that have educated over 1,027,000 students across the country. For more information on how we can support your charter school, contact us. We’d love to work with you!

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