May 2021 Mentor of the Month: Amanda Bjornson

Amanda Bjornson has been a fantastic mentor for 12 years for Everybody Wins! Iowa. She has served at Carver Community School, Cowles Montessori and as a board member over the past several years. During the past couple of school years she has been reading with Vihaan who is in 4th grade at Cowles Montessori school.

She started mentoring with EWI because she had a co-worker that needed a person to pair-share with (share a student). After that year she was hooked and decided to take on her own student.

When Amanda was asked about her mentor relationship with Vihaan she said, ““When Vihaan and I first started reading, all he wanted to read were encyclopedias! He has such a hunger to learn. We read about space, building with LEGO’s and about all kinds of birds. I slowly worked in other books of fiction and we moved to Captain Underpants and stories about Wayside School. We realized we loved funny books and that made us laugh together much more than encyclopedias!”

The site-coordinator for this year at Cowles Montessori was Anna Sunstrom. She observed them laughing about the wacky things they were reading and appearing to have a great time reading together. One of the things Anna noticed was how both of them would add comments beyond what was being read in the story to enhance the narration further. This was fun to see especially over virtual mentoring which can at times be a challenge to connect.

When not involved with EWI Amanda works at Principal Financial Group. She has a degree in math and an MBA. Her favorite things to do in her free time are hanging out with her husband and two children. She also enjoys eating out, exercising and reading.

Amanda had this advice for current and future mentors, “While it seems like a big commitment, it really is the highlight of my week. I love seeing my student light up when we talk about reading and the improvements shown over the school year or multiple years is totally worth it.”

Everybody Wins! Iowa thanks Amanda for her time, dedication and service to our organization.

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