Olivia Brammer used the Pathways at District One91 to try new things and set the course for her future, ultimately leading her back to Burnsville High School as a Special Education Teacher.
Finding the Right Path: How Olivia Changed Course from Healthcare to Education
When Olivia Brammer was a student at Burnsville High School (BHS), she was involved in a variety of activities and ready to start exploring career options. After starting in the Healthcare Pathway and finding it wasn’t for her, Olivia tried some education-focused courses the following year. “Having the opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do for free in high school was so instrumental and saved me time and money to make that decision before even starting college,” said Olivia. While students usually work with district elementary schools to help out and get hands-on experience, Olivia’s busy extracurricular schedule made those kinds of additional trips difficult. She ended up helping at the Functional Education for Successful Transition (FEST) program in the special education department at BHS.
“I really fell in love with the program and quickly became friends with these students who were learning life skills and how to be independent,” said Olivia. “It was so different from other classroom experiences and it made me want to pursue a career in special education.” Her experience in the classes in the Education Pathway led her to change her post high school plans. After touring some schools with the Future Teachers of America group she had joined at school, she enrolled at Augsburg University, where she would graduate with a major in special education and a minor in political science.
After graduating, Olivia was looking for student teaching opportunities, which was tough because of the COVID-19 pandemic. She ended up at a familiar place – Burnsville High School – where she started as a student teacher, transitioned to being an educational assistant, and was eventually hired as a special education teacher in 2021. “It really is good to be back and to continue some of the great relationships with staff from when I was a student and to be able to help students set their own pathways for their future.”
Having the opportunity to figure out what I wanted to do for free in high school was so instrumental and saved me time and money to make that decision before even starting college. The Pathways program really helps students establish early on what they like and don’t like and provides great support to establish their plans.”
Olivia gets to participate in the new Pathways program at District One91 and starts working towards the Healthcare Pathway.
11th & 12th Grades
Olivia decides that healthcare isn’t for her and tries out some education courses. Due to having lots of extracurricular activities, she ends up working with the Burnsville High School FEST program and makes immediate connections with staff and students. “I loved the program and how these students were learning life skills and how to be independent.”
Olivia graduates from Burnsville High School and starts at Augsburg University, majoring in special education with a minor in political science. “I took summer classes so I could speed the process along. My time spent in the Future Teachers of America club was so influential for me and my future career.”
The COVID-19 pandemic makes finding a student teaching position difficult, but after reaching out to Burnsville High School, she begins student teaching and then transitions to being an educational assistant while awaiting licensure, ultimately being hired as a full-time special education teacher in December. “A huge thing in our school district is preparing students for the future and I am excited to be a part of that,” says Olivia.