When Haley Ginsberg walked into Brawerman this September on her first day of school as a faculty member, it was far from her first day on campus. In fact, this return to Brawerman took place one decade after her own Grade 6 graduation. Her homecoming signaled a remarkable milestone in Brawerman history: for the first time, a Brawerman alum has returned as a member of the faculty.
Haley graduated from Brawerman in 2009, having attended since Kindergarten. Her seven years as a Brawerman student were full of the typical Brawerman joys. Reflecting on her time here, Ginsberg said, “When I think of my time at Brawerman as a student, I remember above everything else those feelings of belonging and security. I think one of Brawerman’s greatest strengths as a school comes from the emphasis on community. I definitely felt like my teachers were my favorite people in the world, and that they had my back.”
After Brawerman, Ginsberg attended Brentwood School, for Grades 7 through 12. From there, she went on to Tulane University, where she earned a B.S. in Psychology and Linguistics with a certificate in Teaching English as a Second Language, after which she taught English to adults in León, Mexico.
Last spring, Ginsberg reconnected with Brawerman West Principal Nadine Zysman at a Grade 6 retreat at Tumbleweed Camp, where Ginsberg was working as an instructor. When Nadine mentioned the possibility of Haley returning to Brawerman West as a teacher, both realized it was a perfect fit. Haley Ginsberg is now Ms. G, an assistant teacher in Grade 5 at Brawerman West.
Being back on campus as a teacher has been a mixture of recognizable traditions and new experiences for Ginsberg. “It’s comforting to return to a familiar community, and I feel like I have a lot to contribute. The rest of the Grade 5 team has been incredibly welcoming and made it easy for me to transition into this new position,” she said.
Many of her own favorite Brawerman experiences are still in place and, she said, “Many of the same faculty members are here, the layout of classrooms and schedule feel familiar, and community and kindness are still vital focuses of the school. I remember Sports Day as the highlight of the year when I was a student. Also, many of the melodies to songs and prayers during t’filah and Shabbat remain the same, and the Hashkiveinu has been around for many years as well.”
In addition to these key traditions, there are familiar faces in the building, people who remember when Haley was a student. In addition to Principal Zysman, who was Ginsberg’s Grade 2 teacher, Jen Maman (now Kindergarten) was her Grade 3 teacher. Other faculty that were here when Ginsberg was a student include Rabbi Ben-Naim, Adrienne Coffield, Bruce Green (BMG), Peter Levenson, Karen Morgenstern, Randi Moss, Barry Schapira, Lee Tenerowicz, and Orit Ziv.
Yet, in the decade since Ginsberg’s graduation there also have been some significant changes. Ginsberg noted, “Brawerman has added many additional meaningful roles to enrich and support students that didn’t exist when I was a student, including a school counselor, academic specialists, and multiple assistant principals.”