Emily Bretl

Director of Education for Sustainability

Ms. Emily Bretl is the Director of Education for Sustainability at The Arbor School, tasked with ensuring that our environmental ethos is embedded within our curriculum and reflected in every lesson and task. She will also oversee the design and utilization of our biodomes and the activities of our Artist- and Scientist-in-Residence.

Ms. Bretl was born in the United States, growing up along the shores of the Great Lakes in the Midwest where her love for the outdoors began. She studied at Cornell College, earning Bachelor’s Degrees in Environmental Science and Spanish, and a minor in Biology in 2006. In 2011 she earned her Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies, and certification in teaching science from Antioch University New England. Ms. Bretl is currently working on her Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction at University of Northern Colorado where her research focuses on place-based education, ecological literacy, and creativity.

Ms. Bretl began her career in the environmental field first as an environmental technician for a private consulting firm, then as a wildland firefighter and conservation technician for The Nature Conservancy. Quickly realizing a passion for experiential and ecological education, she worked for several non-profits in the United States as an environmental educator, curriculum designer, and teacher coach in science and sustainability education.

Ms. Bretl was also a founding teacher of Mountain Middle School, a project-based learning school in southern Colorado, where she taught Science and Mathematics, as well as ran the environmental club and running club. Other positions held include Teaching Staff and Middle School Specialist at Puget Sound Community School, and Science Resource Specialist at Ascend International School in Mumbai, India. Emily has led many groups of students on wilderness backpacking trips throughout the United States, including excursions to Isle Royale National Park and the North Cascades of Washington State, combining science education with fun and challenge in the outdoors.

Most recently Ms. Bretl was the Colorado Program Manager for Earth Force, an international non-profit dedicated to engaging young people in solving local environmental problems by combining high quality scientific research with civic engagement for real change — true project-based learning in action!

Ms. Bretl is incredibly excited to join The Arbor School, where eco-literacy, sustainability, and environmental justice are at the center of teaching and learning, and hands-on learning will allow students to develop as creative, compassionate stewards of the earth.

Ms. Bretl is an avid ultra-runner, competing in trail and urban adventures around the world, but mostly just having fun while running! She also loves reading, traveling, cooking, playing outside, and making art.

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