Influencer of the Week: Miriam Brody, Lake Buena Vista High

Miriam Brody, an ESE teacher at Lake Buena Vista High School, is the Observer School Zone’s Influencer of the Week.

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Miriam Brody is an exceptional student education teacher and support facilitator at Lake Buena Vista High School. In her role, Brody provides instruction in job readiness and workplace behavior, while adapting the general education curriculum to meet the needs of the students with mild disabilities she serves. She also collaborates with her students, their parents and the school’s staff to develop individual education plans and to help her students reach their goals. 

“Miriam is a fierce advocate for special education students and works with teachers, administrators and families to help students be successful in all areas of the school,” LBVHS Principal Guy Swenson said. “She is an incredible person and educator and she truly is an influencer on our campus and in our community.”

What brought you to your school?

I never planned on being a high school teacher. It was a surprise to me when I interviewed at the OCPS job fair in April 2017. I met Mr. Zambri and then was introduced to Dr. Swenson. I worked at Olympia High School for four years before he opened Lake Buena Vista High. I thought that would be a good opportunity to be a part of shaping the culture of a new school.

What do you love most about your school?

My ESE team is what keeps me going on the toughest days. We get together and make great things happen. I tend to work best in an environment that is supportive and collaborative. We also provide some of the best comic relief!  

What is the most rewarding part of your job?  

Watching the transformation and growth of students over the years is my favorite part of teaching. The change from a 14-year-old to an 18-year-old is big, and I get to watch them form into the people they will become. It is a great privilege.

What would you be if you weren’t in this profession?  

This has been a question I have been considering as I approach Year 30 of teaching. Life coaching teens into life after high school seems like a natural extension of what I enjoy most about what I do.

Who influences you?  

(My) biggest influences are my parents. They value truth, community and helping those around you. My mom has always gathered things on behalf of someone that was going through a rough time. This could have been a friend, a friend of a friend, a neighbor or a new arrival to the United States. They bless others with whatever they have. My dad is probably who I am most like, with his sense of humor, he would do anything for his friends or family, even if it was inconvenient or he had to (make a) sacrifice for someone else.

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

My fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. Tamayo, was my favorite teacher. She was this very lovely … lady (who wore) very high heels. She had children and taught us during the day. (I’ve) never seen someone who seemed to do it all with grace.

What is your favorite children’s book and why?  

“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” was my favorite story. … I remember my teacher reading this to us each afternoon.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

I love to stroll through the farmer’s market and browse through vintage shops.

If you could dine with any famous person, past or present, who would it be and why? 

Jim Henson would be someone who I would love to have dinner with. I think his wit, creativity and kind soul would make it a fun evening.  

If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why? 

Time manipulation would be the superpower that I would choose, so that I can do everything and go everywhere!

If you could only listen to three bands or artists, who would they be and why?

Prince would have to be one, (because) his music is varied, so I wouldn’t get bored! Willie Chirino reminds me of home, and Billy Joel, (because his) music was always there all my life. 

What was your go-to lunch and favorite snack as an elementary student? 

A ham sandwich with Fritos was my favorite!

What is your favorite holiday and why?

Noche Buena (Dec. 24) is my favorite holiday, because my family and extended family get together — no matter what! We enjoy traditions, gossip and tell funny stories, play games, and enjoy a very special time!

Who was your best friend when you were in school and why? Are you still in touch?

My best friend in elementary school was Ellen Greco, and we were reunited when I taught at her son’s school in 2012. It was so nice to just pick (back) up and talk.



Sam Albuquerque

A native of João Pessoa, Brazil, Sam Albuquerque moved in 1997 to Central Florida as a kid. After earning a communications degree in 2016 from the University of Central Florida, he started his career covering sports as a producer for a local radio station, ESPN 580 Orlando. He went on to earn a master’s degree in editorial journalism from Northwestern University, before moving to South Carolina to cover local sports for the USA Today Network’s Spartanburg Herald-Journal. When he’s not working, you can find him spending time with his lovely wife, Sarah, newborn son, Noah, and dog named Skulí.

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