Sonya Brandenburg —principal STEMM Academy Principal blazes trail at new academy

HARLINGEN — She keeps breaking new ground, and she’s not finished yet.

Sonya Brandenburg was a pharmacy technician when she decided she wanted to attend medical school. As she pursued those plans, she apparently got the education bug.

“It’s awesome all the changes, giving students opportunities they didn’t have before,” she said. “I’m proud of HCISD.”

The Harlingen school district has good reason to be proud of her, too. The 1993 graduate of Harlingen High School is the principal of the new STEMM Preparatory Academy opening this year to sixth and seventh graders.

STEMM stands for science, technology, engineering, math and medicine. The new academy is located at the former St. Paul’s Academy at 1920 E. Washington Ave.

“I feel very excited to be part of this new innovative school and being able to have the curriculum focus not only on science and STEM but also a medical curriculum,” Brandenburg said.

“I’m looking forward to helping students get ready for careers that haven’t been developed.”

She was referring to the rapid development of technology that will lead to fresh new professions.

“I like getting them ready by building that background knowledge so they have that focus,” she said.

Brandenburg, 43, has spent the past 13 years teaching chemistry at HHS. Even her graduation from that school bears some significance for its timing.

“It was the only campus at the time, but that was the last year for there being only one campus,” she said.

She’s enjoying her work with students in the school district.

“I enjoy seeing student success, what they have achieved in their educational milestones along the way and seeing what develops and their long-term goals,” she said. “Our goal is to make them college and career ready.”

In her down time, the married mother of a 22-year-old daughter enjoys decorating and baking cookies. She also likes the outdoors and going to the beach.