For some teachers, their roots in Mountain Brook schools run deeper than their current classroom. What’s it like to see your students walk the same halls and play on the same fields as you did as a student? We asked a few people who know.
Brookwood Forest Elementary Art Teacher
1978 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 28
Favorite Memories as a Student: I was so excited to have one of my paintings hung in the library and made my mom come to the school to see it. I guess I knew I wanted to teach and make art way back then. Another favorite memory was that I walked to school one morning, and my dog followed me all the way to the school. At the time there were no leash laws. She stayed at the school all day, which I loved. I never walked to school again!
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: Teaching with some of the teachers that had me as a child. My third-grade, fourth-grade and sixth-grade teachers were still here when I started teaching. They were wonderful teachers and amazing people.
Best Part of Being Back: Teaching the children of friends and of children I taught. I know that really dates me, but I love that! It’s home. It’s all about community and knowing on a personal level the people you work and celebrate life with.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: The building is totally different and bigger. It’s still hard to find your way around because the school is based on a circle. I was always afraid to go anywhere by myself as a child because I would get lost. I still see little ones wondering around lost.
Mountain Brook High School Spanish Teacher
1992 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 21
Favorite Memories as a Student: I was very involved in the choral department, so musicals and shows were always so much fun. I also had some amazing teachers, many of whom are part of the reason I became a teacher. I remember physics labs in Mr. Stephens’ class was always so engaging and fun. My fondest memories are of just spending time with my friends in the mall before school and during my free period.
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: The teachers here challenge each other and support each other. The teacher I am today is in large part due to the amazing colleagues alongside whom I have had the pleasure of working. We also enjoy spending time together and support each other through life events.
Best Part of Being Back: Teaching the children of my own high school friends. I absolutely love that people come back here to raise their families.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: Students are still trusted to manage their free time responsibly and are allowed a free period. When you walk through the mall now, it looks exactly as it did back in the ‘90s when I was a student. Friends are hanging out, laughing, studying, doing homework, or getting help from teachers. While the physical spaces in the building have changed and evolved, the most important, most valued things about the school have remained constant.
Crestline Elementary School Fourth-Grade Language Arts and Alabama History
1996 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 18
Favorite Memories as a Student: It was always so much fun to wear your Halloween costume to school for Fall Festival and to see your teachers dress up. I remember our principal dressed up as the devil every year. We got out of school a little early and had a carnival on the playground all afternoon. I love that this tradition has continued. The teachers now have a fierce costume competition that is fun for all of us.
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: I especially love it when my students find a book that encourages or inspires their love of reading. Last year, we read the book Wonder together, and then many of us went together to see the movie when it came out in theaters.
Best Part of Being Back: I now teach in the same classroom where I was a student in the sixth grade. It’s neat how things have come full circle.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: Crestline has doubled in size since I was a student here, yet the friendly atmosphere remains the same. There is a culture here that everyone is family, and it is apparent in the relationships with the staff, students and parents.
Cherokee Bend Elementary First-Grade Teacher
1995 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 17
Favorite Memories as a Student: My first grade and second grade teachers Mrs. Bradley and Mrs. Tuck were my favorite teachers and are the reasons I became a teacher and wanted to come back home to teach at Cherokee Bend.
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: Definitely watching the kids I have from year to year grow so much academically and socially. It is a joy to watch them grow from August to May. Watching them learn how to grow in reading is a beautiful thing to sit back and watch!
Best Part of Being Back: We are a family at CBS and I remember it being that way when I went school here also. I also love that not only am I back here, but that my own personal children are attending the same elementary school I went too and they love it as much as I do.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: There used to be huge, gorgeous cherry trees at Cherokee Bend when I was little. We used to go outside and read under those trees, and it was always so much fun. I also loved walking on the Mel Garland nature trail when I was in school. The trail is named after my third-grade teacher, Mr. Garland.
Mountain Brook Elementary Fifth-Grade Social Studies Teacher
1993 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 21
Favorite Memories as a Student: I used to love the Letter People, and we put on a Letter People play where I got to be Mr. S with my super socks.
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: My favorite week every year is our week called Alpine where we take our fifth graders to Mentone for an amazing week of experiential learning in the outdoors. We take school to camp where we go hiking, spelunking, explore the water quality of the Little River, just to name a few activities. It is truly a magical week for our students and teachers!
Best Part of Being Back: Seeing I love walking the halls and thinking back to when I was a student. The kids love finding my sixth-grade composite downstairs.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: MBE is such a special place because you have the old original part of the school, and they have done a great job making sure each renovation keeps that classic feel. Technology has made the world a smaller place. We are starting a program this month where our three classes will be working with classes from Zimbabwe, Jordan and Bangladesh to look at the world’s water crisis.
Mary Riley Deer
Mountain Brook Junior High School Seventh Grade Pre-Algebra Teacher
2010 MBHS Graduate
Years Teaching: 5 years
Favorite Memories as a Student: I always enjoyed being a part of a variety of teams and organizations with my friends. I especially loved playing basketball, running track and being a part of the SGA.
Favorite Memories as a Teacher: I am so lucky to get to work with amazing teachers! The teachers at MBJH are so passionate about their jobs and dedicated to helping every one of their students.
Best Part of Being Back: I enjoy making connections with my students about the things that I loved about growing up in Mountain Brook. It’s really cool to help students navigate situations and experiences very similar to the ones that I experienced when I as a student.
What Has Changed or Not Changed: Despite the fact that most of my students now have so much more technology available to them, I have found that they are still interested in doing a lot of the things that I did growing up. Going to the village after school will always be the cool thing to do on a Friday afternoon!