We Are Crew, Not Passengers!

Brittany Hapner

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About Me

What inspired you to get into the field of education?: 

For as far back as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher.  I played "teacher" at home with my friends.  I grew up watching and awing my grandmother who taught reading for many decades to students learning the English language in the DC area.  My parents modeled and engrained in me the importance of education, learning, and teaching.  I followed in my dad's footsteps of having a math mind and good at explaining things.  This confirmed that teaching was my path.  My cooperating teacher during my student teacher in Boone, NC, was an unbelievable mentor of out of box teaching!  In 1993, she was the lone teacher in this small mountain school doing small group instruction, hands on inquiry centers, differentiated instruction, and writing with a purpose and audience.  I graduated looking for a school ahead of its time, so I could do this in my own classroom!  I found this school in Roswell, Georgia.  After moving to Colorado, I found Lab School, now Polaris Expeditionary Learning School as the place for me.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?: 

I love to feel the hugs or high fives from excited children when we say good morning or say goodbye each day.  

I love to see children so mesmerized that their mouths drop open and eyes widen when I am reading a story aloud to them. 

I love to hear my students say "OH, I get it!" and "Oh yeah, I know." and "I can do it!" and "Come look at this!" and "I figured it out."

General background information (years in education, degree(s), Universities/Colleges attended): 

I have an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in math from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC.  My Masters degree is from University of Northern Colorado in Reading Instruction.  I have been teaching in kindergarten through third grade classrooms in 3 different schools since 1994.  I have spent most of those years teaching in multiage classrooms which value best practices, therefore that is my passion and expertise.  I have taught in Poudre School District since 2000 and Polaris (and Lab School) since 2003.  Expeditionary Learning matches my personal philosophy of education perfectly. Polaris is my home away from home!


My free time is family time!  I have a beautiful immediate and extended family that I love dearly.  My husband, Scott, is an outgoing connected member of the Fort Collins community.  I have 2 children, Max and Lexi, who attended Polaris and now attend Poudre High School.  We love to spend time together and be active in the beautiful outdoors: hiking, biking, camping, skiing, and swimming.  We are on a mission to visit as many National Parks as we can to add stamps in our National Parks Passport.  We also like to be still together while reading, playing games, and watching movies!  Traveling to see new and old places is important to our family.  We see our extended family, learn about history, enjoy the natural surroundings, and have fun adventures.  I get to practice my interest in photography to preserve all these memories.

My Classroom

Courses Taught: 

I believe I am an experienced and knowledgeable educator.  I am always willing to share my expertise with others.  In past professional development opportunities, I have taught others educators about Expeditionary Learning, portfolios, multiage classrooms, integrated units, and reading instruction.  I also enjoy mentoring student learners (interns, practicum students, and student teachers) from nearby university education programs.  I often have them in my classroom observing, volunteering, learning, and teaching. In the spring of 2017, I was an instructor at CSU teaching Student Teacher Seminar.  While students did their student teaching in the area, they attended seminar with me to receive support during their new teaching/learning experience and prepare for job searching in the field of education.

About My Classroom: 

My classroom is a close community of respectful citizens.  We learn, problem solve, make decisions, and play together.  The students spend time with the other 2nd-3rd class, in our whole class group; small groups based on interest, age, need, or skill; peer partnerships; teacher one on one conferences; and independent settings.  My students are independent, responsible, accountable, and reflective learners.  They are such creative thinkers; they ask questions about, use their schema, and apply new knowledge.  I love learning with them every day!

PSD does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, veteran status, age or disability in access or admission to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or activities. A lack of English speaking skills will not be a barrier to admission or participation.