OSZ Influencer: Darlene Brown, Horizon High School

Darlene Brown is the AICE English language instructor at Horizon High School.

Mrs. Darlene Brown
Mrs. Darlene Brown
Courtesy photo
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Darlene Brown is the AICE English language instructor at Horizon High School. Assistant Principal Wessal Kenaio said of Brown: “Not only an outstanding classroom teacher but (she) also runs our school’s social/emotional acceptance group; she is our department/PLC lead, in which she mentors new teachers and provides guidance and support to the entire English department. She forms meaningful and lasting connections with students both within the academic context and outside of the classroom. Darlene is concerned about students’ well-being and brings issues or concerns to the attention of appropriate personnel when needed while seeking a deeper knowledge and understanding of school policy and decisions. She can be relied upon to perform her assigned duties and responsibilities in a professional manner. She attends nearly all home football games and also attends all school SAC meetings.”

Brown was chosen for an OCPS Hero Teacher award for Horizon and said she is grateful to work with a great administrative team and faculty.

What brought you to your school? 
I live in the West Orange area. The community was abuzz with the excitement of a new high school opening. When it was announced that Laura Beusse was going to be the principal opening Horizon High, I kept hearing what a great person and principal she was.  My current principal was retiring. I figured, “Why not seek a little change?”

 What do you love most about your school?

I love the students! Horizon has great students. I love that the administrative team is on the same page and is helpful. At any point, I can go see or email Principal Andrew Jackson, an assistant principal, dean or guidance counselor and have questions or concerns addressed.

 What is your motivation?
The success of my students is my motivation. Feeling and seeing that I’m making a difference with my students is priceless.

 What is the most rewarding part of your job? 
Seeing the students succeed is very rewarding.  Watching students work hard, put forth the effort and then seeing the results in scores and improved writing skills. Watching many of them find their voice is also rewarding.

What do you  like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time, there’s nothing like a good book or binge-watching a good series.

Who was your favorite teacher when you were in school? Why?
My favorite teacher in middle school was Susan Brown, my performing arts teacher. She allowed me to become comfortable with performing and being in front of people. I enjoyed the many field trips which exposed me to new experiences and places.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? Why? 
Growing up I wanted to be a television news anchor. Back then, while  I loved the camera and performing, I was elated at the idea of being behind a news desk, reading a script and informing people.   

 What is your favorite children’s book and why?
“King Midas” was one of my favorite children’s books as a child. I remember being enthralled with someone being able to turn everything into gold. However, the moral was always a reminder not to be too greedy.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy reading good books and doing anything that makes me laugh. I love to laugh.

 If you could only listen to three bands or artists for the rest of your life, what would they be and why? 

I’d rock out to Aerosmith, get my groove on with the Jacksons/Jackson 5, (and) roll with Pentatonix because they cover just about anything and make it sound good.

What was your go-to lunch as an elementary student? 
Toasted peanut butter and honey sandwiches were the best growing up as a kid. Tang and Kool-Aid were real treats to drink too!

What is your favorite holiday and why? 
The lights, music, smells, seasonal foods and family make Christmas my favorite holiday.  There’s so much to enjoy about Christmas — the colors, memories, and movies. 

 Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch? 
I’m a “military brat.” We moved around the world about every three years growing up. I’ve had numerous BFFs, but unfortunately, we have not stayed in touch. I will say, I was reunited with my best friend from when we lived in Italy together. Our fathers were later stationed together again near Cocoa Beach.

 What were your extracurricular activities as a student? Did you win any accolades or honors?
I won a performing arts award in middle school. Middle school activities also included track and field for all three years and soccer for one year. High school activities included track and field, dance corps, news crew, French Club and National Honor Society.



Andrea Mujica

Staff writer Andrea Mujica covers sports, news and features. She holds both a bachelor's degree in journalism and an MBA from the University of Central Florida. When she’s not on the sidelines, you can find Andrea coaching rowers at the Orlando Area Rowing Society in Windermere.

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