Brett Bissell had a dream of being a naval officer, but it turns out life had different plans.


“When I was 17 years old I found out I was color blind,” Bissell said. “I had wanted to go to the Naval Academy since I was 6 or 7 years-old. My dad was in the Naval Academy, so I worked hard to make that happen. It taught me that hard work, it’s a journey.”


Bissell went onto college and in his final year in engineering school, he found his passion in teaching. “[I] realized that I probably won’t make as much money, but you’ll probably be happier going to work everyday, and so for me it was a no brainer.”


He and his wife, Susan, who is also a teacher, moved to Alaska after college.


“I remember thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, what have I gotten myself into,'” said Susan. They taught in rural Alaska for 5 years and have been teaching ever since. Both are now at Northern Lights ABC, Susan teaches second grade and Brett teaches middle school math and science.


“My wife and I have had quite a journey together,” Bissell said. “We taught those first 5 years and in several of the schools we were the only two teachers, so I’ve always worked with my wife it seems like.”


Bissell has been teaching for 27 years, and says there are a few life lessons he’d like his students to learn.


“I want my students to be the kind of people who return their shopping carts to the shopping cart racks in the parking lot,” he said. “In other words, I want them to be contributing members of society.”


Know a teacher making a difference in students’ lives? Nominate them for Teacher of the Week.





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