Meet Amundsen Learning Behavior Specialist II and Algebra Teacher Brian McMahon

Q: What’s something few people know about you?

A: What people do not know about me is that I create my own brand of organic soaps. 

Brian McMahon AHS Algebra and Learning Behavior Specialist.JPG

Q: What brought you to your current position? What do you like best about it?

A: I have a Master’s Degree in Special Education Curriculum Adaptation and Leadership. Upon interviewing for my current position at Amundsen as a Co-Teacher/Instructional Algebra 1 teacher, I immediately felt that the administration recognized the talents I could bring to students. Also, the reputation that Amundsen carries now had a great appeal to me, as I knew I would be able to work among such strong, dedicated teachers and staff.

Q: What was your own high school like? How was it similar to or different from the school where you work?

A: When I was in high school many years ago, my experience was cold and one-sided. As students, we did not have any connections to teachers and were expected to imitate whatever was provided by the teacher in order to obtain credit. There were very limited additional strategies or support if you struggled in a subject. There were not any co-taught classes. This experience is very different from what we provide at Amundsen, where it is an expectation of teachers to have a connection with our students. This builds the capacity for students to make mistakes in a safe, trusting environment. Students’ skillsets are closely monitored, and students are placed where they will receive the support they need. We provide a variety of settings so that students are successful. We, as teachers, provide many strategies to accomplish the same skills. We recognize that students all learn differently. 

Q: What’s one thing you wish people knew about your school? 

A: I would like people to know that the entire staff is dedicated to the success of all our students. We believe every student will grow and succeed. 

Q: Please share one of the best moments you’ve had working at this school. 

A: Every day at Amundsen is awesome. It is hard to pick just one awesome moment. That being said, a special moment that stands out is being asked by our case manager to assist in the development of supports for our diverse learners. By doing so I have been able to utilize all the leadership and adaptation skills I have acquired. 

Q: What advice would you give to a student just starting out at your school?

A: The advice I would provide to incoming Amundsen students would be to establish a good relationship with their teachers and to obtain a structure for homework completion. It is essential that the homework be attempted so that the skills are reinforced to use on future quizzes and exams.