Recently, students in one of Dr. Antonia Brown’s Concordia Irvine classes went home feeling overwhelmed by an important assignment — and that didn’t sit well with Brown. The next day she made a video especially for that class in which she told them, “I just want to check in. You guys looked worried and frustrated last night. I want you to know that you can make it through, and here are some thoughts to help you.” She shared a Bible verse and some wisdom, then sent the video out by email.
“We become family with the students,” Brown says. “They have to trust that you’ll support them, point them in the right direction and tell them, ‘You’re doing okay. You’re going to get there.’ Students in my classes have faith and love coming toward them.”
As a school psychologist in a public elementary school, and a well-loved adjunct professor at Concordia Irvine, Brown creates atmospheres of acceptance and encouragement for others.
“My ability to support people — I don’t know if it’s a gift, but it feels good,” Brown says. “I make sure I see people, acknowledge them, let them know they matter. Going the extra mile is natural for me. I never want anyone to feel they came to me for help and didn’t get it. I’m always trying to see how can I do it better.”
Brown saw this demonstrated in the church she was raised in and still attends. It was full of interesting programs, activities and “women who raised me,” Brown says. “I couldn’t wait to get old enough to join the choir. I remember all the fun times at that church. It was just home.”
Concordia is similarly supportive, she says.
“I’m so grateful to be at Concordia, where other women and men raised me up to be the adjunct professor I am,” she says. “I feel very supported within the Concordia family, and am so grateful for my community here.”
Brown started at CUI in 2007 and became part of the Master of Arts in Education (MAED). A couple of years later she became part of the new School Counseling program, where she teaches courses on special education, crisis intervention, capstone research project, and more, and assists with the coordination of the fieldwork hours for students preparing to become school counselors. Brown also serves as the subject matter expert (SME) — responsible for course content — for three courses.
“I love working with new students and new groups,” Brown says. “I love the blended program where they’re at school one week and online the next. At first I was intimidated by the online process, but now I think students may learn more that way. I’m constantly doing announcements and emailing because I think the more you interact with your students, the better understanding they have. I’ve grown to love the online component.”
For 21 years, Brown has served in the field of school counseling and psychology, and earned her doctorate in the subject. At the elementary school where she works, Brown assesses students the school suspects might have a disability. She conducts assessments in the areas of auditory processing, visual processing, phonological awareness, intellectual capability, social-emotional, adaptive behavior, autism and more.
At Concordia Irvine, she shares her wealth of knowledge with students-becoming-school counselors and especially enjoys teaching the capstone course.
“I like to see the process, where some students are thinking, ‘I can’t do this,’ and they find out they can,” Brown says. “The relationships are the most important to me. You’re not alone. That’s the first thing I like about Concordia, and my day job, is the teamwork. When you’re in it together, there’s nothing you can’t do.”