Allena Berry, Upper School History Teacher
Allena, a former Prairie student, comes to us from Rufus King International High School where she taught World and US history for the past year. She earned a Bachelors of Science in History and Human and Organizational Development from Vanderbilt University as well as a Masters of Arts in Teaching Social Science and History from Stanford University.
Why Prairie? Why education?
I attended Prairie as a middle school student, and I was surprised that coming back as a teacher, I still felt the same spirit and community that made middle school such a wonderful experience for me.
I consider few things more important than education and cultivating a passion for learning. I am inspired by challenges, especially intellectual challenges. Certain ideas, philosophies, or theories are like little puzzles to me; I like exploring them.
I am passionate about people, so most of my interests (inside the classroom and out) also include them. But when I need to recharge, I am either in a coffee shop reading something or at the yoga studio.
Mark Edwards, Upper School Physics Teacher
Working at a boarding and independent school in West Branch, Iowa, Mark brings over 14 years experience in education. He’s served as a Physics and Chemistry teacher as well as the Technology Coordinator in which he oversaw the schools 1:1 laptop program. Mark holds a Masters of Education in Education and Technology from Azusa Pacific University in California as well as Bachelors of Science in Physics and Bachelors of Arts in Secondary Education from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois.
Why Prairie? Why education?
One of the reasons I chose Prairie is because I get to enjoy experiences with students outside of the classroom setting. I really enjoyed the trip to Camp Manito-wish. The school also supports my teaching objectives in a variety of ways including professional development. What I most enjoy is that the students here work hard to better themselves, and I love to help them in their pursuit.
I used to be a horse trainer and worked with students during riding lessons. I was always trying to teach them stuff about Physics, and they said I should be a teacher. So I became one. I like to show students that physics pertains to their lives and isn’t just another school subject. I also enjoy guiding students through experiments and discovery.
Robert Wyer, Upper School English Teacher
Robert joins us from Brookfield Academy where he served on the faculty for 19 years. He acquired a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Kansas, a Bachelors of Science in Secondary English from Kansas State University and a Master of Arts Mediaeval English from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.
Working outside of class with students, as needed, is key to addressing areas that require attention. Within the classroom, I try to involve all students in the conversation, realizing that often some of the best insights come from students who know more than they might realize. I do my best to draw out comments from all students and build on skills at whatever level they exist.
An outstanding teacher ought to know his or her subject well and be passionate about it. An outstanding teacher knows and appreciates his or her students as individuals, attempting to see the “big picture” of the student’s talents, struggles, and dreams.