Healing Through Words: HRS Alumna Brooke Anderson-Collie '08

Counselor, wife, educator, self-described life enthusiast, and author. 

These are the many hats Brooke Anderson-Collie, HRS alumna 2008, wears and she keeps a strict schedule to manage them all. From struggling as an early elementary student, to finding her community at HRS, to navigating years of advanced education and new career pathways, she grew from each new experience. The common thread to them all is her pursuit of education and empowerment, which she gained through literacy. As she says, “Literacy in many ways gives us our voice. We can then use that voice to help elevate others. Words have power and the ability to effectively use words empowers us.”

After completing high school, Brooke received a college degree in psychology before taking her education another step and earning a master’s degree in school counseling. Her counseling career is incredibly fulfilling, allowing Brooke to continue her passion of helping students grow.

But, she has also always been driven by books, stories, and the value of literacy.

As a young child, Brooke was always writing things down and recording experiences. Later in high school, she started to really think about being an author. While those plans were put on hold during her studies, she is a proud, newly published author of Different, a book addressing the challenges of learning differences and how understanding those differences, and believing differences are a superpower, can help students succeed.

Brooke’s journey to becoming an author took root thanks to the mentorship of her mother, who is also a published author. That path was not without bumps and detours, especially upon realizing she had dyslexia as an elementary student. A trademark of dyslexia is the inability to sound out individual letters and syllables of words, meaning her years following more traditional reading strategies had been counterproductive. Using her method of storytelling, Brooke emphasizes healing through words.

Her drive to support others in her career, both as a counselor and an author, is no surprise when considering her reputation as a young student.

A former HRS principal referred to her as the campus grandmother, constantly reaching out to classmates who needed a friend or a kind word. As Brooke puts it, she wanted to make her “sweet little school a kinder and gentler place for the students there with the greatest issues.”

Her teachers also had a strong impact on her academic and personal growth. Mrs. Massoth, still teaching at HRS, instilled self-worth and confidence in Brooke, while former teacher Ms. Lynes helped drive her to complete her education. The creativity fostered by music and art teachers is still a source of strength for Brooke today.

The next year will undoubtedly be filled with more reading, writing, gathering with friends both near and far, and exploring new restaurants with her husband. If you’re looking for a great book to enjoy, Brooke recommends some of her all-time favorites from her childhood: A Bad Case of Stripes, the Amelia Bedelia collection, and the Junie B. Jones series.