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Q&A with Childpeace Head of School Marja Brandon

Inside the Hive

Q&A with Childpeace Head of School Marja Brandon


Q&A with Childpeace Head of School Marja Brandon

Q: Hey there, new kid! Welcome to Childpeace. Off the bat, what is something the Childpeace community would be surprised to find out about you?

A: I am a triple threat–Dyslexic, Dysgraphic and have ADD….but also see those learning differences as gifts, and sometimes even my superpowers (and yes, they can drive me and those around me crazy sometimes too…).

Q: Portland is a great city for amazing coffee! What’s your coffee order?

A: Flat white with coconut milk (and extra shots…I love espresso!)

Q: We can’t wait for you to experience some of the amazing food that comes from the Childpeace kitchen. What’s your favorite meal to eat?

A: I'm a lifelong vegetarian and now nearly vegan (again), so basically I am a happy rabbit. I love vegetables and tofu, can't do anything spicy (total wimp in terms of any kind of pepper) and tend toward Asian flavors if I had to choose.

Q: You recently moved back to the PNW! Do you have any favorite things about Oregon yet, or more specifically, Portland?

A: Just learning Portland now but I love the access to water, green space, and nature. Seeing mountains makes me giddy. 

Q: What inspires you about working in education? Do you have any specific goals for Childpeace?

A: I believe in the 11th commandment–honor the child…and that to me is when education is at its best. My goals for Childpeace have to do with making sure Portland knows what an amazing place it is for children and community to grow, and finding more families who resonate with what we are doing.

Q: You have such an extensive background in DEI work, what has been your favorite project so far?

A: Truthfully, DEIB and ABAR work is hard and invaluable–I have learned so much from my family (I have 3 transracially adopted African American kids, one biological one, and a Deaf partner) so I feel like I am always learning. I have also loved seeing past students learn, grow, and end up teaching me things….

Q: Are there any embarrassing leadership moments you’re willing to share? (We’ll keep it a secret 🤫)

A: Admittedly, I had one school where I was Head nominate me for “What Not to Wear” and while I was indeed a finalist (they chose someone else for the actual show, who truthfully needed it a bit more than me) I thought that was hilarious and would have made for great TV! As a consolation prize I did get the help of a personal shopper who went through my closet and taught me a few things from which I still benefit. 

Q: What are some of the current Gen Z trends that you’re enjoying?

A: While Social Media has brought us many complications, it has also brought many opportunities and opened up more avenues for learning and different modalities of learning which can and are benefiting many more people than we have had in the past….the opportunities are only just beginning to unfold.

Q: Is there a funny story you can share about your family that you feel describes them well?

A: When COVID first hit (and all of my kids were big and living apart from each other and me) we would get together for weekly family Google Meets. I remember remarking to them what a hard time some families at my school were having with small kids at home, trying to balance work, and school, shared computers, and being confined. I asked my kids how they thought they would have fared (and you should know there is 6 years between the 4 of them only)...they proceeded to explain to me in unison that they would have obviously killed each other in short order, then they all agreed on the order they each would have been killed, and by which one of them…all unanimously agreeing in the end on the order, and the sole survivor!  (PS they really do love each other now!)

Q: What’s your zodiac sign? (P.S., the Communications Manager is a geek for Astrology.)

A: I am a metal rat Aquarius (ok that means something…not sure what)

Q: Before we go, is there anything else you would like our community to know about you?

A: I love connecting to families, children and animals are my passion. I have an open-door policy (although most likely won't be in my office much since I prefer to be in and around…).

Photo: Marja and husband Rob scuba diving last summer. 🤿 

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