Brenda Peatrowsky is an extra-special teacher.
She teaches teachers.
Peatrowsky, who was named Council Bluffs Community Schools’ Licensed Staff Member of the Month in October, is a mentor/coach at Longfellow Elementary School. She currently mentors six beginning teachers, three experienced teachers who are new to the school district and three teachers who are in their second year in the district. She tries to be “positive and available,” she said.
According to the person who nominated her, “Mrs. Peatrowsky is fully and wholeheartedly invested in the long-term success of her mentees. She works tirelessly to foster the development of her teachers’ instructional and classroom management skills while still honoring their individual personalities and teaching styles.”
Peatrowsky said she supervised many student-teachers as a classroom teacher and has always helped colleagues when they asked her for advice.
“I just like helping them through all their problems and helping with their management issues they have in the classroom,” she said.
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Having mentoring as her official job was daunting at first, Peatrowsky said.
“My first year, I had 21 teachers,” she said.
Peatrowsky enjoys observing teachers in their classrooms, she said.
“The one thing I like best about being a mentor is when I’m in a teacher’s classroom — they have a fresh outlook with the students, and they really work to try to build those relationships right,” she said. “They love the feedback, and they are very quick to implement” methods she recommends.
“I love my job, because I’m able to go in and see the great things they’re doing and help them work through things they want to fix,” she said.
Peatrowsky said she also likes watching teachers doing things to make lessons fun for the students.
Said her nominator, “Brenda is well-versed in our curriculum and instructional best practices, is an empathetic listener and adept at warmly cheering on her teachers while collaborating with them to identify positive solutions. Brenda’s work extends beyond her teachers and profoundly impacts our community’s students as they benefit from the skill of those she has mentored.
“Brenda’s peers and mentees describe her as a caring, compassionate, high-energy, supportive professional and cheerleader to all,” her nominator added.
Peatrowsky was influenced by an aunt who was a teacher and was aware of the impact teachers could have on children, she said. She also had an opportunity to tutor younger students as a youth.
“When I was in high school, we were able to go to an elementary school and work with the kids,” she said. “It was fun! It was a great joy to be with them.”
Peatrowsky came to the district about 21 years ago as a fourth-grade teacher at Longfellow and also taught third grade for nine years. She became a mentor/coach in 2014.
She and her husband, Brent, live in Omaha and have two daughters, Morgan, a student Burke High School, and Josie, who attends Alice Buffet Middle School.