Meet Toni Brand: Our New 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher




MTS students interviewed Toni Brand, our new 7th & 8th grade science teacher, in the latest MTS News Fall Magazine. The magazine is created by a student staff of 6th, 7th, and 8th graders as part of the Journalism Club during the first trimester. Pick up a copy from the front office to read the full magazine or read on for Toni’s interview below.




Getting To Know Our Teachers
Toni Brand, 7th & 8th Grade Science Teacher

Q: Why did you choose to become a science teacher?


A: My passion for teaching was ignited while working with small groups of students in the laboratory at the University of Wisconsin. this is probably not a surprise to anyone who knows me, as everyone knows that I love learning about science by actually experiencing it. My goal was to teach high school students about cancer cells and to get them involved in my research projects. After only a short period of time, I witnessed my students turn into skilled research scientists, who asked important questions and tested their own hypotheses. In fact, I found that my students ended up generating even more groundbreaking ideas than my own professors! What a gift it is to witness students become intrigued and motivated by the science they are doing. Based on these experiences, I decided to follow my passion and become a full-time science teacher. I’ve been teaching for 10 years. This really is my dream career – I get to do what I love every day!

Q: Where did you go to college and what did you study?

A: My educational career started at the University of California, Santa Barbara. I earned a bachelor’s in science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. I then worked as a brain cancer researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. This experience enticed my interest in cancer biology and influenced my decision to apply to graduate school. I earned my Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Pathology at University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014. At UW-Madison, I studied breast and lung cancers and worked with pharmaceutical companies to test new cancer therapies. From there, I continued my work at the University of California, studying head and neck cancers. I am so grateful for the opportunity to teach and learn science at so many different universities!

Q: What is the best part of being a teacher?

A: The best part of being a teacher is observing students experience science with their own eyes. My students come up with the most fascinating ideas on how to change the world through science, and I just can’t wait to see what they do with it in the future!

Q: What is your hope for Mount Tam students?


A: I hope my students will genuinely enjoy science class and learn how to trust and value their own ideas. I hear so many students say that they are just “not good at science.” I hope by the time they finish my class that they have a new appreciation and love for the subject. Overall, I want to challenge my students to be confused, to not know the right answer, and to keep experimenting.

Q: What do you do for fun when you’re not working?

A: As many of my students know, I am OBSESSED with my dog Otis. Otis was abused and abandoned by his previous owners. It has been such a gift to watch him grow into a confident and loving dog. I spend all my time with him when I am not at school.

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