Degrees and Certifications:
My name is MaryBridget Leba, but I prefer to be called Bridget. Something I want all students to know about me is that I struggled with reading when I was younger. It wasn't until college that I learned the skills to be a successful reader. I went from hating reading to loving reading! If you hate reading, I will work with you to improve your reading skills and to think about reading in a more positive way.
I was born in Fridley, Minnesota and grew up in the northern suburbs of the metro area. At the age of five, my parents divorced and I was raised by my father along with an older sister and brother. Like many youngest siblings, I was picked on and was the brunt of many practical jokes.
I had a lot of fun being raised by my dad. One of my fondest memories is of my father making breakfast for us on the weekends. I loved waking up to the smell of French toast in the morning. To this day, I am not a great cook, but I can make a mean breakfast.
One of the hardest parts of my childhood was losing two sisters. After my parents divorced, they both remarried and my mother had three more children. The first sister I lost was born three months early and died of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), when I was nine years old. When I was eighteen, my older sister died at the age of 24 from complications of Aplastic Anemia.
On the other hand, one of the happiest moments of my childhood is our annual family camping trips. My family did this my entire childhood. I have wonderful memories of sitting around the campfire, hiking and playing cribbage with my father. This camping tradition is one that I am continuing with my family. Some of you may remember my husband, Luke, who used to work at Open School. We've been married for 14 years. We live in Saint Paul with our five year old son, Nikolai (Niko), and our two pets (Remy the cat and Taurus the bulldog).
The part of my childhood that had the biggest impact on life, was moving to South Minneapolis at the age of 15. Once I was submerged in the urban environment of Minneapolis, I felt a sense of belonging. I loved the diversity that the city provided. I graduated from Minneapolis South High and attended the University of Minnesota for all of my undergraduate and graduate courses. While at the U of M, I studied abroad and attended school in Cuernavaca, Mexico. My experience abroad, reinforced my love for new things and learning about new cultures. After graduating from the University of Minnesota with a BA in Elementary Education, I was given the opportunity to teach adult language learners at a local community center. I loved this experience so much that I decided to go back to graduate school to get a license to teach English Language Learners (ELL/ESL).
I spent my first ten years of teaching English Language Learners to students in grades 5-8. Being an ELL teacher has allowed me to continue learning about different cultures, languages and traditions. I transferred to OWL in 2013 and was a reading teacher for middle and high schoolers for three years. I am happy to say, that starting in 2016, I am now the OWL middle school Reading teacher as well as, OWL's ELL teacher.