Empowering The Next Generation: Julian Gire ‘99

Empowering The Next Generation: Julian Gire ‘99

Empowering The Next Generation: Julian Gire ‘99

We reconnected with Julian Gire ’99 to see what he has been up to since graduating from Assets. He is the Associate Director and School Psychologist at Morningside Academy in Seattle, Washington. 

When did you graduate from Assets School?
1999

How long did you attend Assets School?
10 years, I started in third grade.

After Assets, what school(s) did you attend?
Eastern Washington University for both undergraduate (Applied Developmental Psychology) and graduate (School Psychology)

Since graduating from Assets School, what have you been up to?
After attending Eastern, I moved to Seattle, WA, for an internship at a small private school called Morningside Academy. Morningside specializes in working with children with mild to moderate learning disabilities, AD/HD, etc. At the end of my internship, I was fortunate enough to be offered a full-time position, and I have now been there for almost 18 years. About seven or eight years ago, I joined the leadership team as the Vice Principal. In the Fall of 2022, I became the Associate Director.

In 2021, my wife and I got married. Soon afterward, we bought a house and expect our first child this July. I've really loved living in Seattle since there's so much to do here. Being just one plane ride away from seeing family in Hawaii is also nice.    

What is the most surprising thing that happened to you recently?
Morningside's purpose is to get kids caught up academically and transition back to more traditional schools. So, it's always surprising when former students visit, and I hear all the amazing things they've been up to. We had a visit a few months ago from a former student I last saw in 2008, who is running his own digital graphic design company. I just heard from a former family that their son works on nuclear power plants. My favorite is when I hear that a student we worked with went into education and became a teacher. When most kids start Morningside, they hate school because it's been so difficult. When I learn that they've chosen teaching/education as a career... it just hits really close to home.

Tell us about your work at Morningside Academy and what you do there. What do you like most about your job?
As the School Psychologist, I coordinate all of the school's placement testing and progress monitoring. I like examining the student's data and seeing their progress. Watching our teachers take a kid who couldn't read at the beginning of the year and turn them into fluent readers by the end is magical. 

Tell us about what an average day at work consists of. What interests you the most about your work?
Every day throws something different at you. I could be planning on answering emails, or working on a project, but the classroom needs come first. I might be called in to be a substitute when we have teachers out, or when they need to problem solve individually with a student. We could have a struggling student that day who needs a safe place to talk. All of that takes priority over anything I had planned for the day.

What inspired you to get into this career? Why are school psychologists important?
I find it very rewarding working with kids who are struggling in school like I did. When I was in second grade, I was diagnosed with a learning disability, and my school at the time said that they weren't able to meet my needs. I was mad, hurt, and confused. That's when my parents enrolled me at Assets. When I got to high school at Assets, I started to recognize that what the faculty/staff do is really impactful, and I wanted to do the same thing.

School Psychologists are important because they link kids who might need more help with those services. They connect general education and special education. They work with teachers, administrators, other school-based professionals (i.e. mental health counselors, physical/occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, etc.), and families.  

Share some ways attending Assets helped you in your job at Morningside Academy. How did Assets prepare you for your future and your career? What are some of the lessons you learned at Assets School that you still use to this day?
I don't think I'd be where I am today if I hadn't attended Assets. They gave me tools that I still use, but also showed me that I could be good at school. The teachers at Assets helped me learn self-advocacy skills and how to get my needs met in the classroom. 

Do you remember your interactions with school psychologists at Assets?
I remember getting pulled for testing periodically, but I don't remember them identifying themselves as School Psychologists. I thought some of the tests were fun, but others were hard and I knew when I didn't do well on them. I try to remember those experiences when I'm testing with a student.

What are some of your favorite memories of Assets School?
The enrichment classes in elementary school were the best. We got to build rockets and little robots. I learned how to make stained glass and work with clay. I also really liked the wide range of science classes that were offered. We learned how to do DNA testing, which I thought was pretty cool.

What kind of mentorships did you have at Assets School? How did it help you after high school?
I think it was junior year that I worked as a teacher's aid in an art class, as well as a few of the younger elementary classrooms. I think that's when I realized I really did want to work in education. During senior year, I worked in one of Sam Choy's kitchens, and it was one of the best experiences I had in high school. I still remember a lot of the cooking techniques I learned there.

What do you like to do for fun? And why do you like doing it?
I enjoy gardening and working in my yard. I'm teaching myself about food preservation (canning, pickling, fermenting, drying, etc.) and storing the food I grow in my garden for later in the year. Seattle has a pretty short summer, so when it's nice, my wife and I spend as much time outside as possible.

What's next for you, personally or professionally?
I'm looking forward to becoming a parent. Right now, we're getting ready for the baby's arrival this spring. Endless house projects and things to get ready. It's exhausting but fun.

 

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