So Much More Than a Teacher

Faculty play an enormous role in fulfilling Brooks School's mission to "provide the most meaningful educational experience our students will have in their lives," and that goes beyond their work in the classroom.

Our 65 teaching faculty members help students learn as academic teachers, and also informally as mentors, advocates, supporters and confidantes. At Brooks School, teachers play many roles ...
Everywhere you turn, there are smiling
faces waiting to help you with any problems
you have, academic, social or athletic.

Lee Goodman ’17

They are academic advisors

"Students quickly realize how important it is to develop a close relationship with their advisor," said Emma Dawson ’18 and Nalia Medina ’18, speaking out about their close relationship with advisor Susanna Waters, a history teacher and academic dean. "Over the past couple of years, the two of us have encountered the ebb and flow of high school life, and Mrs. Waters has remained our constant support throughout it all ... "[Our meetings with her] have become something that we have grown to love and look forward to. They usually start off with an academic check-in, but quickly transform into relaxed conversations about just about anything on either of our minds."

Science teacher Niko Wagner adds that "advisor" doesn't even cover it. "That implies that we just advise our students. Really, we do so many other things: we’re counselors; we’re doctors; we’re tutors; we’re teachers; we’re just about everything else."

They are coaches

More than 25 faculty members coach an athletics team, from our champion boys 1st basketball squad to the dominant field hockey and squash teams. "There is so much common ground between the classroom and the court: Great teachers are coaches for their students, and great coaches are teachers for their players," said English teacher John McVeigh, Dean of Faculty and the NEPSAC Class B Basketball Coach of the Year 2017. "In both cases, we work hard to get to know the kids and then use that relationship and trust to help them to get out of their comfort zone so they can stretch and grow and accomplish things they didn't even know were within their reach. And often, what you learn in class can be applied on your team, and vice versa. There are so many teachable moments at Brooks and coaching provides countless opportunities to make a difference for our students."

They are dorm parents

Shaunielle McDonald ’94, director of diversity initiatives and director of community service, lives in Gardner House with her daughter, Naimah McDonald '19, and has been a Brooks dorm parent for four years. "As faculty, we work with teens, teach and coach but living with students gives us the opportunity to get to know them in a different way," she said. "Dorm parents get to know their students’ favorite music, what snacks will turn around a day. We’re part of the ending of every day too. We get to download with them and say good night. It’s really a familial environment. And while we’re not their parents, there are moments we’re called to show love to them, whether its helping them through a breakup or the loss of a pet, for example. Our hearts and lives get woven together in unpredictable and unexpected ways. Every year it’s really hard to say goodbye."

They are club leaders

"I love teaching and connecting with my students because for me, it is an extension of motherhood," said Spanish faculty Lillian Miller, who also helps run the campus club Alianza Latina. "And I enjoy my role as an advisor to the Alianza Latina Club because I understand what our students are experiencing and I want them to grow. I remember how it felt when I first arrived to the United States so in many ways I feel a strong connection to the Latino students and a desire to help them in any way I can."

They are mentors

Reflecting on her four years at Brooks, Hannah Latham ’17, said what she is most grateful for are her teachers. "I am so thankful for the supportive faculty members that help make up our Brooks community," she explained. "Without them, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to go on exchange, attend numerous diversity conferences and be pushed to be my best.”