Biltmore Prep second grade teacher honored this month

Biltmore Prep second-grade teacher Brynn Bennett is originally from the Pacific Northwest. A graduate of the University of Oregon, Bennett always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

“I spent many years as a camp counselor,” said Bennett. “I knew I wanted to work with kids and teaching was a natural choice.”

According to Will Callanen, a local father who nominated Bennett for the Arcadia News Teachers We Love award, his son Luke’s teacher has an outstanding connection with the kids.

“Our son loves his teacher’s energy and the attention she shows to each and every kid in the class,” said Callanen.

The Callanens have recognized great strengths in Bennett’s classroom organization and ability to bond with her young students.

“She carefully navigates the emotional state of the students, inspiring, corralling, and providing boundaries to promote student success,” said Callanen.

Bennett moved to Phoenix eight years ago, on a whim. When her best friend accepted a job at a school in Buckeye, Bennett looked into a job as well. The school was planning to fill a variety of teaching positions and the longtime friends jumped at the chance to move together to a brand new city.

“There is so much sunshine here,” said Bennett. “It is almost the complete opposite of where I grew up, with Oregon’s rain and gray skies.”

The roommates discovered the Arcadia neighborhood and made the tight knit, family-oriented community their home. Unfortunately, the commute to Buckeye made days long. Last year, Bennett decided to casually look for a job closer to home.

“I applied for this position at Biltmore Prep and got the job, but I had no idea about the Foreign Language Immersion (FLI) and English Language Arts (ELA) programs,” said Bennett. “When I found out more about how it worked, I was excited that I would just teach what I liked.”

Within the FLI and ELA programs, two homeroom classes of second-graders switch between two rooms for different subjects. The first part of the day is spent learning English and Language Arts in Bennett’s room. Math and science are taught in Ms. Gers room, with instruction done completely in Spanish.

“One of the aspects of this teaching style that I really like is that I get to teach each lesson twice, every day,” said Bennett. “I get to see what works, what I need to improve on. It allows me to improve every day.”

While some might be intimidated by this different style of teaching, Bennett said she’s committed.

“I absolutely love it here. I can see being here for the long haul. It is such a great community.”