Two Interviews with Ms. Mendonsa

by Kelsa Dator

In the Count of Monte Cristo, Dumas writes, “Order is the key to all problems.” It makes sense that Ms. Mendonsa, a math teacher, says that this is her favorite quote. Previously being named rockstar teacher at Nowell Academy, Ms. Mendonsa now joins us here at East Greenwich High School. In her first year with the East Greenwich math department, she is teaching geometry and introduction to statistics. While she is new to East Greenwich, she is not new to teaching. She has worked with a variety of different schools, previously teaching at Tolman High School, Toll Gate High School, Pilgrim High School, as well as Nowell Academy, a charter school. After experiencing several different school environments, she has discovered the method of teaching that she feels best benefits her students. Ms. Mendonsa blends direction, discussion, and delegation to expose students to math skills in such a way that they are participating and not just receiving information. She finds that this style promotes learning through following, interaction, and growth. So far, the students have jumped right in to take part in Ms. Mendonsa’s classroom. Ms. Mendonsa is firmly committed to her students’ growth and developments and hopes to empower them to strive to do their best. She loves teaching here at East Greenwich and has been impressed with the ambition and determination of her students. 

Ms. Mendonsa did not always know she would be a math teacher. When she graduated from high school, she first studied to be a physician’s assistant at Quinnipiac University. After her freshman year, she realized that was not her calling and transferred to Rhode Island College. It was there that she earned her bachelor’s degree in secondary education with a concentration in math. In teaching math, she is able to get to know her students well and develop a relationship with them. Being part of each student’s journey has helped her to guide them as they form a foundation for their future. Although math was not always her idea of a perfect job, it is clear that there are similarities between being a physician’s assistant and a math teacher that may have led her to where she is now. A physician’s assistant receives a diagnosis from the doctor, and they then work with their patients to provide long-term care. Similarly, a math teacher does not create the subject matter, but they take the material given to them in order to create a stronger student. 

After the school day is done, Ms. Mendonsa loves to spend time with family and friends. She has three siblings that she is very close with, two nieces whom she loves and adores, and looks forward to visiting her sister’s french bulldog on the weekends. Teaching must run in her family because her younger sister is a math teacher as well and works with middle school students. She had several teachers that were inspirational to her that set her up on a path to success in the subject. Ms. Mendonsa was especially fond of her fifth and twelfth grade teachers who played a big role in the decision to switch majors. Her twelfth-grade teacher was constantly saying “Always do what’s going to make you happy; don’t do something because you think it’s going to make someone else happy.” Due to the big role that her math teachers had on her life, she hopes to have the same effect on her own students. When giving math advice she tells students “Math is in every aspect of life. To have an understanding and general math background is an important part of every day.” While she does enjoy inspiring student, she also looks forward to time away from the classroom. She escapes it by reading, going on vacation, and shopping. While at home with her dad, Ms. Mendonsa hopes for a home cooked meal of her dad’s macaroni and red sauce. 

On behalf of EGHS, we welcome Ms. Mendonsa to our community. If Ms. Mendonsa were playing two truths and a lie, she would say that her favorite color is red, she has never been to New York, and she loves dogs. I encourage everyone to get to know her and see if they can guess which is her fictional statement. 

by Michaela Shunney

This past Wednesday, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Brianna Mendonsa. Ms. Mendonsa is a new Geometry and Statistics teacher here at East Greenwich High School. Although this is her first year at EGHS, she has been teaching math for over ten years and has taught every math class offered at the high school level. Before joining the East Greenwich teaching community, Ms. Mendonsa taught at Tolman High School in Pawtucket, charter schools within Central Falls, and the Warwick school system. She loves to teach every math course, but her two favorite courses are Calculus and Geometry.

Before she started teaching, she was not on the the path to becoming a teacher. In fact, she was studying to become a physician’s assistant at Quinnipiac University located in Connecticut. It was a rigorous six-year program, in which she was a scholarship recipient. After one and a half years at the university, she decided to change her career path to teaching. She then transferred to Rhode Island College to complete a Secondary Education program with a concentration in Mathematics. While in high school, Ms. Mendonsa spoke of being influenced by an amazing, second year Calculus teacher when she was in high school. This likely influenced her to become an educator. Although Ms. Mendonsa is a teacher, come this January she will also become a student; she is going to pursue a degree in School Psychology. Ms. Mendonsa stated that she has always wanted to help other people, especially kids in high school, not just academically, but socially and emotionally, too.

When she is not correcting homework, you can find her shopping at the mall, or going to the library. She is a frequent shopper, and even admits to sometimes shopping a little too much. Above all, Ms. Mendonsa loves to read. Her favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, which she was required to read when she was in eighth grade. She highly recommends the book to any students who are avid readers. Ms. Mendonsa’s favorite television show is “Chicago P.D.,” and her favorite channel is the Home Channel, which features the show “Fixer-Upper.” Lastly, she stated that her dream destination is Paradise Island located in Jamaica. Ms. Mendonsa indicated that this was the place she would like to go to “chill-lax” and “forget all her worries.”

In closing the interview she provided some inspirational words. She wanted students to know how important it is to pursue their dreams and to believe in themselves. She also wanted to remind students that they can achieve anything that they set out to do.

It was clear from the interview how excited Ms. Mendonsa is to be here at East Greenwich High School. She is very happy with the decision to join our school and our faculty, and so far, she is having an outstanding time. Please join me in welcoming her to our wonderful school. If you bump into her in the hallway, don’t be afraid to say hello. But, if she is not around, she’s likely “chill-laxing” in Jamaica, without a care in the world.

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