By Julia Zabludovsky
Name: Jennifer (Jenny) Brenner
Department: Learning Specialist
Grades teaching: 9, 10, 11, 12
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Learning specialist Jennifer Brenner has gone on a long journey of self-discovery – from journalism to Wall Street to education, where she has found her passion.
When Jennifer graduated from high school, she did not consider becoming a teacher. She did, however, know that she loved to write. In college, she began majoring in journalism but soon decided it was not the right career choice. Instead, she graduated with a BA in International Relations-Political Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Her first job was on Wall Street where she worked alongside many people with similar degrees. After a while, she realized that that type of work environment did not fit her personality. Jennifer said, “I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.”
She had always valued the work of educators. In high school, she struggled with math for two years until one teacher completely changed her approach. He made everything make sense. “It made me realize how important it is for a teacher to have a command of the material and to know how to communicate with the students,” she said.
Following in her father’s footsteps, she taught history for seven years. “I loved the help and support aspects of my job.” She got a LMSW (Licensed Master Social Worker) degree from NYU and an MA in Secondary Education-Social Studies from Hunter College. She then had a child and decided to take some time off from teaching. In the meantime, she was tutoring and helping kids prepare for college. She mainly worked on getting kids focused and managing their time. She tutored in a wide variety of subjects: English, history, writing, French, and a little bit of Biology.
“Now that my son is older, I really want to get back into a school setting to combine all of my experiences into a more formal position,” explained Jennifer. Prior to coming to Heschel, she held positions at the Berkeley Carroll School and the Beekman School.
Jennifer was introduced to Heschel by friends whose children attend the Lower School. At first, she was concerned about how she would fit in at a Jewish day school since she never had much exposure to the religion growing up. “However, when I arrived at the school, I realized that I could see myself working at Heschel.”
“I am excited about the many different facets of my job,” she said. Jennifer is very enthusiastic about working closely with Audrey on expanding the Learning Lab. She is especially looking forward to meeting and working with the students and parents.
A native of Brooklyn, Jennifer loves fitness and the outdoors. In particular, she likes to do SoulCycle, dance fitness, walk around the Central Park reservoir with her dog, and hike. She also likes to read and tries to write whenever she can. Additionally, she loves working on art projects with her son.