Over the Mooney

Brandon Mooney

Brandon Mooney

Claire Johnson, Writer

Brandon Mooney didn’t always want to be a Family Engagement Specialist. “I always wanted to be a professional football player. That was the pipe dream back in elementary”

Mooney is Bellows Free Academy’s new Family Engagement Specialist.  This is his first position working in a high school directly, but he has worked with kids and their families as a family service worker for the Department of Children Affairs in Vermont. It was there, he says, that he heard about the position open at BFA and was motivated to take it. “I dealt with a lot of truancy cases, when I was over there, and I saw that this position was open regarding engaging families and trying to get them back into school,” Mooney said.

Mooney described his work as identifying kids who are at risk of, or are currently in, truancy, then helping them overcome whatever obstacles they are facing.

If you don’t know what truancy means, Mooney described it as “A pattern of behavior of missing school, for any reason. It could be appropriate reasons or inappropriate reasons, or systemic barriers such as finances or transportation.”

Born in Prince Edward Island, Mooney graduated from Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. with a criminal justice degree in hopes of being a police officer.

Even in college, however, Mooney began to think that being an officer was not the way he wanted to make a positive impact on the community.

“I want to help people and engage in a community, and I want to make a positive difference. And during my time in college was when there was a lot of community and social unrest with the police department, particularly with police brutality and violence, and I felt at that time it wasn’t a career I wanted to pursue,” Mooney said.

When asked about the support of other BFA staff, Mooney had this to say: “I’ve been really impressed with the amount of support and outreach from my colleagues; a lot of people are introducing themselves and trying to make me feel more comfortable. When you are in a brand new position, it can feel really lonely and unsettling when everyone already knows everybody, and you are not quite sure where you fit in or who to talk to, and it’s been really nice having the BFA staff being supportive and outreaching to me.”

Mooney has a simple goal for his first year at BFA:  “[A goal] for the year [is] to make connections with students. Students who I am working with, and students that I am not working with. I’m really looking forward to building those relationships and rapports; that’s the best part of the job.”

Mooney’s office is located in the Main Office, so make sure to stop by if you need anything or just to make him feel welcome.