Sarah LaBrec’s classroom at Grand County High School is full of items she has collected throughout her travels of the world. Her space is recognizable as a history classroom from the moment one walks into it. However, LaBrec’s life doesn’t just exist there.
LaBrec grew up in southern Minnesota where she attended high school. Her first pick for college was Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She was admitted and decided to get her undergraduate degree in economics.
“After Colorado College, I got my teaching certification at University of Denver,” LaBrec said. “After that I went to Harvard to get my masters. I finally got my Ph.D at Boston College.”
LaBrec spent a total of nine years in post-secondary schooling.
“My favorite college was Colorado College,” LaBrec said. “The classes were small and you had easy access to your teachers. My experience at Harvard was sort of what you would expect. I had so many readings for one of my classes I couldn’t take them all on the train in one trip. This was for just one class, too.”
During LaBrec’s graduate program at Harvard she worked on curriculum development for history, and she has carried this into her teaching vocation wherein her GCHS lesson plan isn’t just about history. LaBrec has developed a curriculum that also involves art and music.
“I loved the arts and music,” LaBrec said. “To me that’s a way to see history.”
LaBrec’s education and knowledge is recognized in the intellectual community; her dissertation and several articles have been published over the years.
“My dissertation was on multicultural education,” LaBrec said. “Basically on how schools can be more multicultural. Remember this was back in the Nineties. The literature is much more inclusive now.”
Aside from teaching, LaBrec has spent a lot of time traveling around the world.
“The most unusual places I’ve been to are probably Israel, Bahrain and Qatar,” LaBrec said. “I’ve been to places in central Asia. This summer I actually went to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. I’ve taken away a lot from traveling. Mostly that we are so spoiled and we have it so good here. We really are a first-world people. Our lives are so easy compared to those of other places.”
LaBrec moved to Moab from Cortez, Colo., after meeting her husband, Bret Burgess, a bus driver for the school district.
“I love the high school here,” LaBrec said. “There are tons of opportunities for those who want to take advantage of them.”
This is LaBrec’s third year at the high school as a history and geography teacher.