Brand new history teacher

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Siobhan Brand, a former law teacher at Francis Lewis High School, recently joined the Townsend Harris faculty as both an AP World and an AP/Honors Government teacher.

Ms. Brand described the student body as key to making her want to join THHS, saying “The quality of students here [at Townsend] really stood out to me.”

Though she originally planned on going to law school, Ms. Brand’s love for history eventually drove her to pursue a career in teaching. However, she hopes to bring her knowledge and prior experience in law to her history classrooms, inspiring students to take more interest in both law and history. She explains many of her goals for this new school year, stating, “I hope to get to know the students better, since this is my first year, and also to introduce more law-related topics and to spark an interest in law for the students here.”

Assistant Principal of Humanities Rafal Olechowski praised Ms. Brand’s prior teaching experience, noting that she “has been very successful at Francis Lewis High School and has been loved by her students and colleagues, which is what solidified my opinion of her.”

Furthermore, with the recent retirement of Dr. Linda Steinmann, a former government and law teacher, Mr. Olechowski hopes that Ms. Brand will be able to take over the law program at THHS and offer guidance for any students interested in the field of law. He said, “Since so many of our alumni have already gone to law school and become lawyers, I’m hoping to create a program with Ms. Brand to connect students who are interested in law with alumni who can help foster their interests.”

Photo by Renaenia Pangan

Many of her students, in just the first few weeks of the school year, have positive things to say about her teaching style. Senior Zayyan Alamgir, a student in Ms. Brand’s second band AP Government class, believes that she “seems like a very passionate and engaging teacher. I feel like this year has a lot of potential because she seems very optimistic and confident in her teaching.”

Senior Gurpreet Singh, a student in Ms. Brand’s seventh band AP Government class, agreed that “Ms. Brand is a very knowledgeable teacher. You can tell that she’s really passionate about history and wants her students to be passionate about it as well.”