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Teacher Spotlight: Coach Zach Brandt

by Andrew Ochoa and Sedona Goodbar

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Palo Verde High School has had some amazing teachers in its company, but one teacher that has proved to be a great addition to this pack of panthers is teacher and tennis coach, Mr. Zach Brandt.

Coach Brandt is a native to Las Vegas and has been a teacher for a total of 18 years, and only two of those years were spent at a school other than Palo Verde.

Brandt teaches a special education class, which provides extended resources for students in need of assistance in their standard English classes. Coach Brandt also teaches a class called Resource Reading 180, a computer based class that allows kids to gain a deeper understanding of the presented reading at their own pace.

This lively teacher found his inspiration for teaching special education from a college basketball coach he idolized, and saw as a mentor. This mentor taught special education and Brandt, seeing his coaches passion and the impact he made on his students, decided that this would be the career he would pursue.

Of course, along with any job, teaching special education comes with its own unique set of challenges.

“If a student doesn’t understand a subject the first few times, it becomes hard to think of new ways to explain things; you have to learn each student’s individual strengths and weaknesses. You have to be patient, and sometimes that’s hard to do,” says Brandt.

And while special education may become a challenge at times, Mr. Brandt still finds his inspiration for teaching through the positives. Brandt enjoys his student’s fun and energetic spirits that always keep him on his toes and always involved.

When Mr. Brandt is not in the classroom, he is out on the courts inspiring students to push their boundaries and meet their athletic goals. Coach Brandt has been coaching numerous sports for as long as he’s been teaching. These sports range from tennis, baseball and even basketball.

“There are so many parts of coaching I enjoy, such as being able to watch all of my students achieve their goals, big or small. I also find it fun to see the students move on. I’ve had over 40 students move on and play for a college team in both tennis and baseball,” says Brandt.

Coach Brandt finds that the best advice he can give to either future special education teachers or athletes is to be patient, flexible and, most importantly, passionate about what you are doing, and why you are doing it.

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Teacher Spotlight: Coach Zach Brandt