Meet MAT Alumni

Meet some of the Alumni of the Public Elementary and Secondary concentration. JDS/DeLeT Alumni can be viewed here.

Expand All / Collapse All

Howard Allen '11

Howard Allen received a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering and a Master of Science degree in civil engineeringHoward Allen from Tufts University.   In between these studies, he served in the United States Air Force, with assignments in Washington State, England, and Turkey.  He worked for over sixteen years in the environmental consulting industry, focusing on cleaning up properties contaminated with oil and hazardous materials. 
A native of Portsmouth, NH, he now lives with his wife and two sons in Norwood, MA.  Howie is an active member of Temple Beth David of Westwood, MA, where he serves on the Board of Trustees and on numerous committees.  He now works as a Physics/Chemistry teacher at Scituate High.

Brian Bisceglia-Kane ’06

Brian Bisceglia-Kane ’06 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort I) teaches third grade at the Daniel Butler School in Belmont, Mass. Previously, heBrian Bisceglia-Kane taught children exhibiting challenging behaviors and emotional difficulties at the Horace Mann Elementary School in Newton, Mass. He writes:

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the Master of Arts in Teaching: Public Elementary program at Brandies is an established culture of thinking. Dirck Roosevelt and the other professors at Brandeis created a supportive environment that I think is very necessary for new teachers. They encouraged me to try new things, even when I was hesitant to do so. During my internship, there were good days and

bad days; it was always reassuring to know that my professors were there to talk about those “difficult moments” I had in the classroom. These conversations pushed my thinking as a student, and helped me become a more confident and focused teacher. I felt extremely well-prepared to begin teaching after my completion of the MAT program.

back to top
Kimberly Canuto ’08

Kimberly Canuto ’08 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort III) teaches second grade at the Neighborhood Charter School in Dorchester, Mass. Shortly before graduation last summer, she wrote:

kimberly canuto

Before enrolling in the Brandeis Master of Arts in Teaching: Public Elementary Program, I attended Wheelock College in Bo ston. As an undergraduate student, I was ambitious about becoming a teacher and eager to improve the educational experiences of children from a diversity of backgrounds. After looking at other teacher-preparation programs, I decided on Brandeis because it was the best place to help me attain these goals. Being a student at Brandeis has been a truly phenomenal experience. Professors, colleagues and other faculty members have all been very supportive. The knowledge and skills I have gained here will help me continue to develop throughout my entire teaching career. I believe that the Brandeis MAT program prepares individuals to become effective educators dedicated to the lives of all children.

Back to top

Beth Factor '08

Beth Factor ’08 earned a BA with honors in History and Sociology/Anthropology from Denison University.  After working in business at a Development and Administrative Manager for several years, she enrolled in the Secondary MAT – History.  Beth did her internship at Newton South High School and is now teaching history, psychology, and law at Salem High School.

back to top
Jenna Fernandes '08

Jenna Fernandes ’08 entered the Secondary MAT – English, upon her graduation in 2007 from Brandeis, where she majored in English and American Literature and was Phi Beta Kappa. Jenna did her student teaching in the eighth grade at the Richard J. Murphy School, a Boston Public School with approximately 900 students. Jenna is now teaching in the sixth grade at Ottoson Middle School in Arlington, Mass. Jenna says:

"The Brandeis MAT program allowed me to investigate what was important to me as an educator. The program was small enough for me to receive the individual attention I needed to develop my thinking into the kind of practical philosophy that now informs my teaching. The relationships I formed with professors and colleagues remain the most valuable asset of the program in my mind. The community made it safe for me to take risks and try new things, and I know it will continue to be a source of innovative ideas, personal and professional support, and inspiration in the next stage of my career for years to come."

back to top
Laura Himmelberger '11

I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2009 as a History major and Politics minor.  During my senior year, I interviewed prospective students at Mount Holyoke's Office of Admission and really enjoyed learning about the student's schools and interests. I also come from a family of educators who have inspired me to pursue a career in education. These influences coupled with my penchant for History motivated me to further my own education in order to teach students History in a secondary school setting. I was attracted to Brandeis because of its small, challenging classes, individualized attention, and enriching learning environment.

Laura is now teaching at Notre Dame Academy.

back to top

Efrat Kussell ’06

Efrat Kussell '06 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort I) teaches sixth grade math at the Explore Charter School, in Brooklyn NY. This is her fourth year at the school. Since graduating from Brandeis, she also taught a fifth-sixth grade combination classroom at the Cambridgeport School in Cambridge, MA. She has written:

Each day I teach, I find myself thinking about something I learned or experienced at Brandeis. This statement may seem obvious, but the truth is, for many, teaching can feel like a strenuous routine; it is easily possible for a teacher to stop thinking deeply about his or her practice.

 More than anything else, the Brandeis MAT has given me the long-lasting ability to reflect on and make meaning of the daily happenings in my class. My experience as a teacher is always exciting because I have been trained to think clearly about teaching, to grapple with problems, to feel confident in the decisions I make and to ask questions that are important to my practice.

 I've heard that teaching is considered a lonely profession. Many teachers feel isolated when facing the inevitable challenges of the classroom. Setting itself apart from most MAT or M.Ed. programs, Brandeis has followed me each step of the way through continued discussions with my cohort, my professors and the teachers I met during my yearlong internship. It's been four years since I received my MAT from Brandeis, and never once have I felt alone.

And here is a September 2010 bulletin from Efrat:

So far the 6th graders seem to be acclimating well to their new grade level. My homeroom class is particularly

efrat kussell

lovely - they are a very reflective and kind group and I'm constantly impressed by the ideas they come up with. On the first day of math class, we were discussing the 3 values excellent math students embody: kindness, productivity and curiosity - and I asked the kids what it might mean to be curious in math class. A few kids gave responses like "asking questions," "trying out new ways of doing things," "thinking outside the box," and then C______ (who was my second grade student 4 years ago) said, "I think being curious means that you are really wondering about why other people think the way they do and you want to find out." I was so excited when she said that because I was so surprised by the depth of her comment. I told her that wondering about why other people think the way they do is what I do all day long - that that's a big part of being a teacher - and that I am thrilled to know that I'll have company in doing so.

Editorial comment: And that - wondering about other minds - is a big part of why teaching can be such a thrilling thing to do.

Back to top
Allison Mandel ’08

Allison Mandel ’08 (Cohort III) came to Brandeis after working as an executive assistant in a large corporate office.

Allison Mandel with students

She came into teaching, and the MAT program, because she “wanted to be in a profession where (she) would be able to make social change by enriching the lives of children.” While in the MAT, she did her internship at the Joseph Lee Elementary School in Dorchester. Nearing graduation from the MAT, she wrote, “One of the things I love most about the MAT program is that it actively fosters creativity and imaginative learning.” In September of 2010, heading into her third year out, she writes: 

My name is Allison Mandel and I graduated from the MAT Public Elementary program in 2008. I am currently teaching at Aichi International School in Nagoya, Japan. I am the main Grade 2 teacher as well as the Math teacher for Grades 3, 4 and 5. My students are 90% native Japanese. They are bilingual in Japanese and English. I teach Math, Science and Literacy to my 2nd graders in English; and a native Japanese teacher comes in to teach the same subjects in Japanese. It really is a unique and lovely school. I am very lucky to have the experiences that I do. The MAT program gave me so much direction and insight into who I was as a person and how I wanted to interact with the world around me. I learned and grew so much during my year at Brandeis. I've been lucky to receive continued support since I've graduated. I want to send sincere gratitude to my mentors and teachers and good luck to all of the future Cohorts!

Back to top
Sara Marx '11

My name is Sara Marx. Deciding to become a teacher has been a lifelong process for me. As a young person, I loved school so Sara Marxmuch that I thought I wanted to become a teacher. I was always interested in political science and international relations, as well as learning about other peoples and cultures. After I completed a semester abroad in Dakar, Senegal, I knew I had a lot to share with young people and a unique perspective on the world. I began work as editor of a Jewish educational website for middle-schoolers, and through many school visits and teacher workshops, I knew I wanted to work in a classroom, in a school, with students. Being an educator is truly a calling for me and I am excited to work with young people in a subject area about which I am very passionate. As a teacher, I hope to help young adults ask important questions and feel empowered to positively change the world.

Sara now teaches social studies at Day Middle School.

back to top
Janice Mckeown '11

Janice grew up in Westwood, MA, and received her Bachelor of Arts from Colby College.    She currently lives in Roslindale.Janice McKweown

I am thrilled to be starting the MAT program at Brandeis.  I am coming into Education after spending 20 years in footwear marketing and product development.  I am excited about this change because I have wanted to be a teacher for most of my life.  I have always held teachers in high regard, but for one reason or another, the timing wasn’t right for me to make this change – until now.  My volunteer work in the past year with elementary school age children from the Family Nurturing Program in Roslindale reminded me how much I love working with children. It also reminded me how much I can learn from them.

One reason I want to become a teacher is that I think teachers hold one of the most important jobs in our society today.  I believe that constantly finding ways to improve our public education system should be a top priority for our government leaders.  I am becoming a teacher because I want to understand how the system works now and I want to be constantly thinking about how to improve it so each student receives the same high quality education no matter where he or she lives.  Gaining experience as a teacher will be crucial to this process.   One reason I am specifically interested in this Brandeis MAT degree is because I value the liberal arts approach and emphasis on social justice and the aim to improve children’s life chances.   Additionally, I am impressed with the fact that I will be with the same class of elementary school students for a complete school year, not just a 2 month internship.   This will provide me with a world of experience and give my confidence a boost when I step up to lead my own classroom after I graduate.  I am proud that I am brave enough to formally continue learning at this stage of my life and I hope to become a teacher who will foster a lifelong love of learning in my students.

Back to top
Shauna Antley Pellauer '08

Shauna Antley Pellauer ‘08 graduated Summa cum Laude with a BA in English from Pomona College and earned a Master of Theological Studies at Harvard Divinity School before she entered the Brandeis Secondary MAT – English.  Shauna, who did her internship in the eighth grade at the Lawrence School in Brookline and is now teaching at Newton South High School, writes about the Brandeis MAT:  
Teaching isn't an art that we ever "master," but the Brandeis MAT program will support your professional and personal growth as you gain the skills to succeed in the classroom.  I benefited tremendously from a small learning community of passionate teachers-in-training and individual attention from advisors and professors.  I also appreciate the commitment Brandeis makes to caring for new teachers like me through the induction program.

back to top
Leah Proctor ’08

leah proctorLeah Proctor ’08 (Cohort III) is a resource-room teacher at the Stanley Elementary School in Waltham. Reflecting on her experiences last spring, she wrote:

Studying with Brandeis has been both humbling and amazing. This has by far been the hardest year of my life, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Brandeis’ MAT program will work you to your core, and it’s more than worth it. You will grow as an educator and a person.

Back to top
Katie Reed '11

I just graduated from Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Minnesota, with a major in history and a minor in Katie Reededucational studies. I have always wanted to be a teacher and am excited to finally be concretely on that path, though I feel I’ve been on the “teacher path” since elementary school. Because I love all learning and therefore all subjects, it broke my heart to think of picking just one to teach, which is partly why I’m really excited to teach in elementary school. I’m also excited about giving children a basis for understanding and building blocks or tools with which to continue learning all their lives. I believe that elementary school is the place to really be able to affect students and their attitudes towards learning and I want to be part of making learning exciting, fun and wonderful for all children.

Katie currently teaches at Cambridgeport School.

Back to top
Marianne Stabile '07

Marianne Stabile '07 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort II) teaches 3rd grade at Rock Springs Elementary School in Lawrenceville, GA.  More than a third of her students are English Language Learners, making her glad she decided to do her MAT teacher research project on the varied opportunities formal and informal contexts in school afforded students for learning English as a new language.  She urges MAT's on the job market to consider teaching positions in the South.  She would be happy to talk with anyone interested in looking for a job in her area; she would also be happy to meet with anyone in her area who was considering the MAT program.

Marianne also serves as a mentor to high school students considering going into teaching.  At the close of her first post - MAT year of teaching she wrote:

So many of the things I learned in the MAT program are things I have directly applied in my real work as a teacher this year.  For example, my colleagues and administrators were impressed at my understanding of which interventions would be appropriate for helping my students with learning disabilities.  I had a student who had characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome, and I told my assistant principal some of the ideas I had learned for helping such a student.  She asked how I knew this and I told her about a paper I wrote for the special ed class on the subject.  She asked that I email her my paper because she wanted to learn more about interventions for children with Asperger's!  I've never heard of a first-year teacher who felt 100% prepared to go out on her own, but as my first year comes to an end, I can see that Brandeis gave me more than enough of the skills and knowledge I needed to thrive in my new position.

Update, April '09: Marianne writes that she is off on a new adventure next year. 

I took a job teaching 4th grade at the American International School of Abu Dhabi, which is near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates!  I am really excited.  It's a private school that serves a whole range of nationalities using the IB (International Baccalaureate) Primary Years Program, and - no NCLB!  I leave in August and can't wait.  Stop by and visit...

Read Marianne's blog about her new teaching adventure in Abu Dhabi at

Back to top
Christina Sergi '11

My name is Christina Sergi, and I am in the MAT for secondary school English. I double majored in English and American Christina SergiLiterature and Creative Writing as an undergrad at Brandeis University. I hope to take my knowledge and interest in these subjects to help students learn new avenues of creativity, whether it be learning brilliant pieces of poetry, or analyzing many of the wonderful literary works of our past and present. I hope to bring my passion for creativity and exploration into the classroom, and more importantly into the lives of the students.

back to top
Alan Tso '11

My name is Alan Tso, and I am in the MAT for secondary school biology. I was a biology Alan Tsomajor in undergrad with an interest in the fine arts. I'm always coming up with new art projects to tackle, from paintings to suits of armor. I hope that I can put my creativity to good use in making science more interesting. I want to teach students that science is a practical subject with applications throughout everyday life.

back to top
Katalin Wiggins ’08

Katalin Wiggins ’08 (Kohl Fellow, Cohort III) teaches third grade at the Northeast Elementary School in Waltham. Reflecting on her experiences last spring, she wrote:

My undergraduate degree was in magazine journalism. Before entering the Brandeis Master of Art in Teaching: Public Elementary program, I was working as a layout artist and graphic designer for several publications. (Note: Katalin designed the image on the right side of this page.) I decided to become a teacher because I wanted to do something meaningful with my life and have a positive influence on future generations. I love being in the MAT program! Our cohort clicked right away, and working within such a small group allows for a comfortable and intimate learning environment. I enjoy learning to teach in an academic context that is so focused on developing independent-minded teachers. Also, the year-long internship in one classroom is an amazing experience that isn’t offered by most other teacher preparation programs.

Back to top