Meet The CSO: Lissa Brunan
July 26, 2017
Lissa Brunan is an Assessment Specialist at the Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office.
Influenced by her parents, who were both educators themselves, Lissa realized early on that her life path would revolve around education. She was a middle school math teacher at Whitehall (MI.) Middle School for the first six years of her career. Her enthusiasm for teaching expanded well outside her classroom as she was an active part of the school improvement team, assisted as a varsity softball coach, and contributed to the professional development of her fellow staff members. While at Whitehall, Lissa acquired her Master of Arts in Educational Technology through Michigan State University’s overseas cohort program in Plymouth, England.
Lissa then moved into a role where she could help teachers improve through professional development related to classroom technology, Through positions at PolyVision, National Heritage Academies, and, since 2011, at Grand Valley State University Charter Schools Office, Lissa is fulfilling her dream of teaching and traveling. She shares her knowledge and experience on topics such as Northwest Evaluation Association’s (NWEA’s) MAP GROWTH assessment and builds teachers’ capacity in the ever growing world of technology.
Lissa’s highly-engaging presentation style has earned her the opportunity to present to large organizations and audiences, including NWEA and the Michigan Association for Computer Users in Learning (MACUL). She strives to have every interaction with an educator be positive and enlightening, always hoping to empower them to grow as a life-long learner and strive to make lives better for kids.
Along with husband, Jeremy, and two year old son, Coltan, Lissa has recently relocated from Alto, MI., to Hudsonville, MI., to be closer to family, friends, and her church community. Aside from spending time with her family, she is passionate about managing her 70-person, charitable-giving group as well as coordinating small group opportunities for her church throughout the year. Her unique mix of being highly creative and highly organized keeps her busy with ongoing ideas and projects both at home and at work.
What book are you reading right now?
What is your favorite tech tool?
What is something that many teachers are unaware of when it comes to student assessment data?
The fact that the right assessment can really, really help a teacher instruct in a classroom. I think that gets buried under the idea that assessments are used to understand how the school or teacher are doing, where the core of a good assessment should be to help students learn. Because of this, teachers may not want to utilize an assessment because they feel like it’s judging them.
How did you become interested in working in education?
I was immersed in education since I was born. I saw the joy [my parents] had with working with students and seeing them grow, learn, and be part of the community, so I kind of knew early on I wanted to be in education.
Who was your favorite teacher, and why?
Oh gosh…if I had to choose outside the family tree, there were a few. I still remember my kindergarten teacher Ms. Harris. She really built community, even with five-year-olds, and I took that with my teaching. I do remember my middle school art teacher quite a bit. She encouraged me personally to pursue stuff and try to dig in to some of my passions.