Dana Brown Stieffenhofer ’05

Lower School Boys, Third Grade. 

Dana graduated from Springside School in 2005 and started teaching at SCH Academy in 2014.

What inspired you to become a teacher?

Growing up, I gravitated towards jobs and activities that involved working with other people and oftentimes people who were younger than me. I started babysitting at a young age and worked as a camp counselor for many years. Every day was unique, exciting, and interactive, which I cherished. In these environments I discovered that I had a natural ability to teach others. It was at this young age and through these personal experiences that I determined my calling in life was to teach. I was inspired by the idea that I would be able to encourage youth to find their passions, share important values, and have fun while teaching and learning from my students at the same time. 

What attracted you to teach at SCH?

As a Springside alumna I already knew many of the wonderful opportunities offered to the students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy. During my eight years as a student at Springside I learned a ton, was empowered as a young woman, developed greater independence, and formed bonds with teachers and classmates that are still strong today. My attraction to Springside as a student is equaled by my attraction to SCH as an educator. We are all learning and growing in a community where we can be surrounded and immersed in nature, engage with a variety of arts, try new sports, all while discovering oneself, the world around us, and how to be part of it all!

What do you enjoy most about teaching and why?

There are many things that I enjoy about teaching. The most powerful is the connections I get to make year after year. I love getting to know students on a personal level, conversing with them and their families, sharing small moments of victory, and helping each other through times of challenge. Making meaningful connections with the young humans that I spend so much of my time with creates an environment full of trust, empathy, fun, and excitement, which all leads to a more productive place of learning and growth. I also appreciate the connections between my colleagues and myself. Being able to collaborate with my fellow Lower School for Boys teachers is irreplaceable. This past year has furthered my desire and commitment to create and develop personal relationships. 

Is there some object in your office or on your desk that has special significance to you?

My classroom is my second home as I spend much of my time here. (I am in my classroom after school hours typing this now!) I strive to create a comfortable and inviting space for both my students and myself. Springside and CHA were a big part of my life before teaching, so it is not a surprise that I have a lot of memorabilia throughout our space. I have a brick from the Woodward gym, a stadium cushion, license plates, pennants, and so much more to show all of my SCH pride. The most meaningful, and closest to my heart is my Springside graduation photo, Class of 2005, still in the engraved silver frame. It is right above my desk reminding me of the incredible journey we took together and feeling like it was just yesterday that we were laughing together in the halls.


Learn more about Lower School at SCH Academy. Discover our elementary school academics and see our state-of-the-art facility built in 2019. Hear from Head of Lower School Douglas Wainwright.

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