Meet Mrs. Cohen!


Emelda Forney, Staff Reporter

Mrs. Julie Cohen is one of two new teachers at Brentwood Highschool this year. She lived in northern Italy for three years and Texas for three years before moving back to St. Louis this summer. Before becoming a Brentwood teacher, she was a food and wine editor of the San Antonio Express-News and a managing editor for Sauce Magazine.

Mrs. Cohen in Italy with her husband and two kids.


Mrs. Cohen taught college writing at Columbia University, Washington University, and the University of the Incarnate Word. She holds masters degrees in English and Secondary Education from Truman State University and an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University.

Mrs. Cohen then started freelance writing for a magazine and ended up enjoying it a lot. Even while working as a journalist, she also wanted to become a teacher, saying, “I felt that even when I worked at a magazine and a newspaper and was managing teams of writers, I was still being a teacher, because I was editing their work and making deadlines and working with them on their writing. So it really was still like teaching, which I really liked.” Mrs. Cohen teaches College Credit English IV, English IV, College Credit Creative Writing, and Journalism here at Brentwood.

COVID-19 has made it really difficult for a new teacher, such as Mrs. Cohen, to connect with students. Cohen says, “I was disappointed that we weren’t going to be in person because I couldn’t imagine how it was going to work, not knowing the students and not knowing the other teachers and starting this way, but honestly, it’s worked out. I’d still rather be in person, but I feel like it’s going a lot better than I thought it would. The students have been great.”

The pandemic has been a frustrating time for not only new teachers, but all teachers as they now have to learn to teach virtually. Mrs. Cohen expresses her frustration with not being in person by saying, “Sometimes in class, I just want to be able to walk over to a student and have a conversation — just a quick check-in to be able to see what they are working on and if they are understanding everything. With writing online, I can’t do that. It has to be more formal where we either schedule a meeting or make a breakout room.”

As a teacher, Mrs. Cohen’s philosophy is teaching students how to be critical thinkers. She believes by learning to do that, you can become excellent readers and writers. She says, “That’s what I’m always trying to teach students to do, regardless of what we’re working on in class. I want them to be able to think critically and originally as they figure out what they want to do after high school.”

Despite having to have her first experience with her new students online, Mrs. Cohen has pushed through and is excited to get back in person and meet everyone.