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Alumni Spotlight: Brianne Tabar

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January 3, 2022

The Patton College is proud to feature Brianne Tabar as January’s Alum of the Month. Tabar is the recipient of the 2021 Sister Rita Mackert Teacher of the Year Award established by the Strongsville Council of the Knights of Columbus to recognize an outstanding teacher in the Strongsville City School district.

Tabar, who is from Cleveland, completed her B.S. in Early Childhood Education from Ohio University in 2017 and received her M.Ed. in Reading Education from OHIO in 2018. She is currently enrolled in the Inspired Leaders Principal Licensure Program at Cleveland State University and expects to complete it in December 2022.

We asked Tabar a few questions about her time at Ohio University.

Why did you choose Ohio University’s Patton College for your program? 

OHIO was actually the only place I had applied to for college. I had family and friends who had attended and after falling in love with the campus myself, there was no other place I wanted to go. I don’t remember a point in my life where I didn’t want to be a teacher, so it was a dream to find the combination of OHIO and the excellent teacher-preparation program that The Patton College offers.

Provide a brief summary of your career/opportunities since graduation: 

After finishing undergraduate courses in 2017, I was a Patton College teaching fellow at West Elementary in Athens, completing my Master’s in Reading Education while teaching Kindergarten part time. After leaving Athens, I taught 3rd grade and coached JV Cheerleading in LaGrange, OH, and have now been with Strongsville City Schools for two years, teaching both 2nd and 3rd grades. Within my building, I am both a TBT (Teacher-Based Team) Coach and Technology Coach. Through these roles, I support my colleagues with Tier 1 instructional strategies and technology integration.

I absolutely love being a teacher. My favorite part is building relationships with my students and their families. I strive to make learning fun and am passionate about engaging students in real-life experiences that provide them with opportunities to be in charge of their own learning.

How did we prepare you for your career/next steps in your education?

I know that had I not attended OHIO for my teaching degrees, I would not be the educator that I am today. The Patton College offers extensive opportunities for teaching candidates to learn, grow, and lead, and I am so thankful for that. I felt especially prepared for my career after finishing my teaching fellowship. I can’t thank my co-teacher and mentor, Lindsey West (ACSD Kindergarten teacher), enough for believing in me from the get-go. I first met Lindsey during my junior year PDS Partnership as I was placed in her Kindergarten classroom two days a week for a semester. It was two years later when she selected me to come back and be her teaching fellow/co-teacher. I am so thankful for the incredible fellowship program that The Patton College offers. It is truly where I learned the most about being an effective educator.

What inspired you most during your time at OHIO?

During my time at OHIO, I spent three years as a Learning Community Leader for The Patton College. Through this role, I supported aspiring teachers through the early years of their educational journeys. This role has played an integral part in the “why” behind my current study of becoming a principal and educational leader, as a future goal of mine is to teach teachers. I owe so much of what I know about teaching and learning to Dr. Sara Hartman, Dr. Sara Helfrich, Dr. Chris Kennedy, Marcy Kiefer-Kennedy, Dr. Danielle Dani, Dr. Allyson Hallman-Thrasher, and Dr. Laura Wentworth. Each of these amazing educators played such an important role in both my personal and professional lives. Their knowledge and passion for education has inspired me in immeasurable ways.

What’s your favorite/most memorable memory of your time as a Patton College student? 

My favorite memory of my time as a Patton College student was my six-week trip to Thailand. In the summer of 2016, I traveled with a group of pre-service and in-service teachers to complete Thai language instruction, collaborate with local groups in service-learning projects, and engage in over 90 hours of cross-cultural classroom teaching. Dr. Emmanuel Jean Francois was the leader of this experience, and I cannot thank him enough for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This experience provided me with life-long friendships and knowledge that will forever have an impact on my life.

What is your favorite place on or off campus?

It’s so hard to pick one place! I would say my favorite place off campus is Court Street. There is no better feeling than walking to or from class down Court—passing people you know, stopping for a bite to eat, or visiting a local store, regardless of the season. Some of my favorites were Brennen’s, Bagel Street, O’Betty’s, and Casa! Many of my best memories in Athens were made on Court Street.

What tips/advice would you give to people who are considering studying your program at OHIO?

Do it and don’t look back! I am so grateful for my time at OHIO in The Patton College that I can barely put it into words. Not only will The Patton College prepare you to be an incredible educator, but you will learn to be an even better person too.

Describe Ohio University in 5 words:

A home away from home.