Dana Hall’s newest literature lover: Ms. Kaitlin Brandt

With Dana Hall being hybrid in the winter and just recently increasing activity in-person, it has been difficult for some students to get to know other members of the Dana Hall community aside from their own teachers or classmates. English teacher Ms. Kaitlin Brandt is no exception, as this is her first year at Dana. Department Head Ms. Linda Derezinski said that Ms. Brandt “has been a real find for us — she’s so flexible and so willing to do new things and do whatever the other teachers or kids think is really valuable. She’s also really interested and really engaging with students, so that’s exciting for us, and I think exciting for her too.”

Currently, she is filling in for Mr. Fred Lindstrom while he is on sabbatical, and is teaching two sections of Lit Comp I and the AP class Women At The Edge. Ms. Brandt has been both online and on campus, being able to connect with some of her own students in person.

Before coming to Dana, Ms. Brandt taught English for eight years at Belmont High School, and also recently taught a college writing class right before substituting at Dana. She has been working part time for a couple of years now because of her children, explaining that “my kids are young, so I wanted to spend a little more time with them.”

Ms. Brandt is teaching the novel Beloved by Toni Morrison for her AP class. “I have to say that [has been] my favorite thing to teach. I’ve never worked at a school where I can sort of choose what I want [to teach]…and I’m really enjoying it,” she said.

Ms. Brandt also loves the all-girls aspect of the school’s curriculum. “I think it’s wonderful for girls to be so free. When I taught in a co-ed environment …I had classes where boys tended to dominate the conversation, with girls only speaking up when they had some brilliantly formulated idea. I love how that dynamic doesn’t happen here.”

Ms. Brandt has three children, two sons and a daughter, and they live in Newton, MA. She reminisced, in her deadpan tone, “we used to have a fish named Marco, and he was doing really well. Then one night he got stuck in a decorative structure in his tank. A horrible way to go.”

In her free time, Ms. Brandt enjoys activities like tennis and hiking, but it’s no surprise that her bigger interests lie within literature. “Obviously, if I could do whatever I wanted I would be home all day writing. When I was younger I used to like poetry a lot, and I still really like creative writing. I’ve always kept a journal; classic nerdy English teacher type stuff,” she said.

Students also have great things to say about Ms. Brandt. “She’s really nice,” Chloe Franco ‘21 commented. “I feel like she is doing a really good job with our class, and I can tell she cares about how we’re doing. She’s given us surveys and check-ins on what we feel is working pretty often.”

Anna Kurtin ‘21 said, “we have a lot of discussions, and she likes to try new things that I haven’t done in other classes,” finding those aspects of the class helpful and engaging.

Ms. Brandt explained what led to her becoming a teacher. “I always wanted to be a teacher, even when I was little. I’ve always loved reading and writing, so that seemed like fun to me,” she elaborated. “I also had a couple of really great professors in college who taught me a lot about writing… and that kind of teaching inspired me.” 

Dana Hall is happy to welcome Ms. Brandt with open arms and appreciates what she has had to offer to the school.

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