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West Orange Times & Observer Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 1 week ago

Influencer of the Week: Amber Brown

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Amber Brown is a language arts and Bible teacher at The First Academy.
by: Chris Martucci Sports Editor

Amber Brown teaches fifth grade at The First Academy as a language arts and Bible teacher and has been there for five years. She has traveled all over the world with her family from a young age — thanks to her father’s position as a pastor. She went on two or three mission trips each summer, which taught her the value of service to community. 

What brought you to your school?

I attended The First Academy from fifth to 12th grade and graduated in 1999. It was a life-changing experience for me, and I attribute many of my qualities as a student, teacher, mother and friend to the discipleship I experienced at TFA. I wanted to teach at TFA so my own children could experience what I did. The teachers, faculty, Godly academic focus and love of God’s Word is woven into everything that TFA does. I came to TFA to be a fifth-grade teacher in 2016, when I was pregnant with my first son, Luke. I now have two sons, and I hope that they will both attend TFA through 12th grade. 

What do you love most about your school?

The leadership. Our head of school, principals and assistant principals are servant leaders and support the teachers in every way. Their Godly example trickles down to every aspect of our school culture. I work in Lower School as a language arts/Bible teacher for Jennifer Jackson and Ardis Meloon, and they are prayer warriors, encouragers and lead by serving others constantly. (Head of School Dr. Steve D. Whitaker) leads with integrity and encourages teachers through daily devotions, visits to our classrooms, personal emails and home letters of gratitude for our service. Dr. Whitaker and his wife send personal birthday cards, flowers and other kind gestures throughout the year to walk alongside teachers in every season of life. The leadership at our school honors the teachers constantly with kind words, helpful assistance with classroom needs. They allow us to use our teaching talents in our own creative ways and encourage us to grow spiritually. 

What is your motivation?

To lead students to Christ through the way I teach and love them in my classroom. Also, I love to make learning fun and memorable so that any type of work can be something that brings them joy. I have always wanted to be one of the teachers that they remember all throughout middle and high school as one of their favorite/most impactful.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

Praying over students and seeing them gain confidence in their academic and spiritual lives.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love to spend time with my family and host meals at our home. My husband, Peter, is a former chef, so he cooks, and I prepare the table. Meal time is special for my parents and Pete’s parents, so we invite them over for meals, and it is always memorable. God’s greatest blessing to me is quality time with Peter and my two boys, Luke and Wyatt. I also cherish time with my parents, brother and his wife, all of my grandparents, and Pete’s family!

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?

At TFA, my favorite teacher was Marilyn Jeffcoat. She taught Bible and had us do role-plays to show examples and non-examples of character choices. Her focus was never solely on academic progress but character development. She smiled and laughed often, made learning fun, and encouraged us to think about our walk with Christ in a personal way, daily. As a middle-schooler, I always felt that she helped me have confidence in who I was in Christ. She always said I would be a great teacher one day, so I am happy to now teach using some of her best methods.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why?

I always wanted to be a teacher and eventually some type of principal or dean. The leaders, teachers and Godly principals and teachers in my childhood helped shape me into who I am today. I want to do the same for children and families as a personal ministry.

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Chris Martucci is the sports editor for the West Orange Times & Observer,  Southwest Orange Observer and OrangeObserver.com. He holds a master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri — Columbia School of Journalism, as well as a bachelor's degree in...

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