Back to school

West math teacher Dana Lebrecht returns to her alma mater to inspire her students and athletes


Colton Rasnake

An alum of West Campus, Lebrecht teaches math to English learners and coaches both cheer and softball.

Stacy Correra, Staff Writer

Once the bell rings, some students tend not to think much about the teachers in the classroom. The day goes on, and students go through their motions without thinking twice about what they just learned. Being the teacher in that classroom doesn’t seem like an ideal career choice, but this isn’t the case for Dana Lebrecht, a math teacher, cheer coach, and softball coach at West Campus who was once in her student’s shoes.

“I like helping students, and I was always good at math,” she said. “That was always my best subject, and I really like when I explain something to someone who doesn’t like math and then they get it and I’m like, ‘Ha! Told you.’”

Lebrecht graduated from West in 2012 then went on to Northern Illinois University to major in mathematical sciences with an emphasis in math education. She picked up long-term subbing jobs before landing her first full-time teaching job at MCHS in 2016.

Her first year as a teacher at her alma mater was uncomfortable. “When I was emailing Mr. [Dane] Erbach, I called him Mr. Erbach,” laughed Lebrecht. “I felt like I shouldn’t be a coworker of my teachers, but it was also really comforting because I was around a bunch of familiar people.”

In addition to teaching math, Lebrecht teaches students whose first language is not English. “I took four semesters of Spanish [in college]. I also have my ESL certification. ESL is English as a second language.”

Because of her position as a teacher and coach, Lebrecht has impacted many studentsSenior varsity cheerleader, Melanie Leutner, is one of many students who have been impacted by Lebrecht. “She’s definitely a hard-worker, for sure,” she said. “Without her, the cheer team wouldn’t be as driven and motivated as we are. She pushes us to be the best we can be at every practice.”

“I like getting to know the kids outside of the classroom because you actually get to talk to them more instead of just instructing them so much,” Lebrecht added. “I’m with the same kids from June until February so I really get to know them because we just spend so much time together which is cool.”

Sitting at a desk in class may not be the most fun way most students can imagine spending their future. The reality of teachers is selfless and impactful on everyone’s lives, and although Lebrecht is just starting off, she’s starting off her dream on the right foot, influencing athletes and students alike.