Diana Brainerd Adopts a New Role at ACA

By Miriam Lee

The Charter News/Feature – 12/13/18

A rose by any other name is still a rose. Diana Brainerd with another title is still Diana Brainerd.

From the start of ACA, to now, Diana Brainerd has always had an important role in the ACA community—whether that be as a parent, friend, OBOB coach, ES, teacher, or associate director.

“Diana has the experience, from her role of working as an ES, in addition to her role as a PAT member… she’s also a teacher, so I think just her vast experience in many different roles, over many many years, helped equip her for the administrative position, ” said Seanna Bloemer over a recent interview.

This includes overseeing and supporting all ESes and helping them match with new students.

Barbara Gaines stepped down from the role as associate director and lead ES, but said that she was delighted to hear Brainerd applied, and felt she would be a great candidate.

“Many of the things she and I would talk about together are things you sometimes can’t prepare for, so it’s a lot of problem solving, and we just talked about some strategies you could use no matter what the situation is,” said Gaines, who trained Brainerd in her current roles.

“Diana’s focus is on ensuring the well being and success of each student. This emphasis on the student will be vital to ensuring that ACA continues to be a unique learning environment that serves families and students who are in search of a school that encourages them to take control of their education,” said lead teacher and associate director, Julie Swanson, over an online interview.

Brainerd changed roles in late August, which was hard on both families, and Brainerd herself. She expressed that her summer was stressful, but once she and her team got everything situated, it felt very rewarding.

Brainerd previously had a family of six ES students who adored her. Erika Lute, parent of said students, spoke of how hard finding a new ES for each individual had been for their family.

“The transition was tough, when I first found out I wanted so badly to be happy for her, but mainly I was just sad. As well as losing my ES I also had a tough time finding another ES that fit with my schedule,” said Chloe Lute, eldest of the six.

Although at first the transition was hard on the family, they said that they have all been blessed with new ESes, and thanked Brainerd for all she did to make sure they found the right matches.

With all the struggle that came in the beginning, there have been many perks to Brainerd’s new position.

She spoke about how her new position creates more flexibility in her schedule, and how even though she misses her one-on-one time with students, she is glad that her new position opens up opportunities to get to know more staff and students all around the school.

“Her change has positively affected me; I still have my friend to ask for advice, share funny stories and brainstorm solutions to challenges, a remarkable gift as we make this career change at the same time,” said Julie Swanson, who also changed roles to the administrative team.

“I know that her students miss her, but as a school, we are lucky that she has brought her experience, passion, and humor to ACA as a whole,” added Swanson.


Lute, Erika. Personal Interview. November 28, 2018.

Brainerd, Diana. Personal Interview. November 29, 2018.

Bloemer, Seanna. Personal Interview. November 29, 2018.

Gaines, Barbara. Personal Interview. December 4, 2018.

Swanson, Julie. Personal Email Interview. December 5, 2018.

Lute, Elijah. Personal Interview. December 5, 2018.

Lute, Chloe. Personal Interview. December 5, 2018.