A new addition to the Upper School science department last year, Dave Privasky arrived at Collegiate after six years of teaching life science at Tomahawk Creek Middle School. At Collegiate, Privasky teaches biology and human anatomy and also serves as a 9th grade advisor. Privasky grew up in Muskegon, Michigan, and as a child frequently visited Bear Lake and state parks, fueling his appreciation for nature. Before Privasky attended college, he was “longing for an adventure.” and he had the opportunity to visit El Paso, TX. There, he helped with a church doing mission work and outreach across the border in Juárez, Mexico, while attending a few classes at the University of Texas at El Paso. In Mexico, Privasky saw substantial amounts of poverty, and he described it as a humbling experience to be immersed in a different environment, saying it opened his heart to want to help and work with young people.
After his year in El Paso, Privasky returned to Michigan to be closer to his family and to attend Central Michigan University. At CMU, Privasky studied biology and played electric and acoustic guitar. After graduating from CMU and getting his teacher’s certification, Privasky and his wife were looking to get out of Michigan. They ultimately settled on Virginia because of the mountains and the ocean. A teacher fair came to CMU and offered Privasky and his wife, who also is a teacher, a job in Chesterfield Public Schools at Tomahawk Creek.
Privasky originally wanted to be a pediatrician due to his passion for learning about health and medicine and his love for helping people. But while taking biology classes, he learned that he didn’t have to be a doctor to help others.
At first, Privasky did not know much about Collegiate, but a former colleague at Tomahawk Creek encouraged him to apply for an open position as a biology teacher. Originally, Privasky was hesitant about the thought of changing schools, as he had just started on his Masters of Biology at Mississippi State University, but he ended up researching Collegiate and its values and became intrigued by what Collegiate had to offer. He then says, “It all happened from there.”
Privasky notes the class sizes as a major difference from teaching in the public school system, as Collegiate provides, “More of an opportunity to work with students on a more one-on-one basis”. Privasky also says that he is “amazed with how responsible our students are in taking care of communications with their teachers.”
At CMU, Privasky’s favorite class was human anatomy. Following his positive experiences in his college human anatomy class, Privasky was inspired to teach human anatomy to high school students because he learned of the possibilities that Collegiate offers teachers to “pursue their passions,” as he puts it.
Privasky’s style of teaching is humorous, as he likes to make learning interesting. He often makes jokes with students and can brighten someone’s day. Privasky is described as “chill” and a “friend to everyone” by Will Thexton (‘18) and Reilly Gallagher (‘18), both former students. “Mr. Privasky teaches in a relaxed manner that makes [his students] feel like they are appreciated and that the teacher truly cares about their future at Collegiate,” says Meade Spotts (‘18).
When not in the classroom, Privasky likes to spend time outdoors hiking or backpacking or spending time with his wife and two kids.
When asked to summarize why he is a teacher, Mr. Privasky says, “I teach what I love, and I get to be with people I care about.”