Teachers Before Townsend: Ms. Brea’s journey from the Time 2000 scholarship to THHS

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Alice Brea, a teacher at Townsend Harris, has taught Geometry and Algebra 2 for two consecutive years. With students solely taking her classes as a requirement, many don’t know who Ms. Brea is outside of her math lessons. 

Zead Husain is one of her geometry students and said, “She reviews both before and after the tests and everyone feels comfortable asking questions,” he said. The environment Ms. Brea creates in her classroom is one that many students appreciate.

She is a native New Yorker, growing up in Long Island with her two older brothers. She explored multiple careers in school trying to decide what she truly wanted to do. While she initially considered pursuing a career in medicine, inspired by her father who is a doctor, she ultimately decided to become a teacher during her junior year of college. “I went to college with the expectation of being a teacher,” Ms. Brea said. 

Ms. Brea attended Queens College through the scholarship program TIME 2000. Through this program seniors take approximately 45 credits in mathematics and 24 credits in secondary education. The goal of the program is to teach people interested in studying education and mathematics a rigorous course to improve the math curriculum in schools. When asked why she chose Queens College, she said, “It was far enough so my parents couldn’t pop in while I was there, but still close enough to home so if anything happened they could drop by.”

Hayden Wong, another one of her students said Ms. Brea is a “true teacher” because of her drive for education. “She is extremely welcoming and doesn’t come off as intimidating. This is helpful for students who need more assistance with our work.”

Ms. Brea completed her undergraduate education through the program, then obtained a minor in education. “It was easier to stay there, so I stayed for my masters too.” She has one masters in math education then her second masters in computer science. She worked at another school prior to THHS and didn’t feel fulfilled there. “Townsend Harris has a good reputation, it’s known for having smart and driven kids. I wasn’t happy at my previous school, so Townsend was a change of base,” Ms. Brea said. 

Being content with her place in life right now, she said, “I’ve been teaching for 10 years now, and I’m pretty happy with it.” If the opportunity to become a professor was presented to her, she might be interested, but as of now she is taking the time to travel around the world instead.

Last summer she traveled to Australia and New Zealand for over a month. “I truly enjoyed traveling by myself in a different country,” she said. She was able to pet a kangaroo for the first time, an experience you cannot get in NYC. She now plans to visit Hawaii and embark on a new adventure.