Prior to SCHS, Brent Sjodin worked as a costume designer for over a decade


James Kepner

Sjodin is looking forward to gaining new experiences in teaching at SCHS.

Brent Sjodin, a new SCHS English teacher in the Special Education department, has a passion for music from the 1980s. Depeche Mode is a throwback band from Sjodin’s high school days and is full of synthesized music with keyboards and an electronic niche vibe. 

“I really listened to music when I was in high school, which was the ‘80s – the late ‘80s – and the early ‘90s,” Sjodin said. “So my playlists, when I drive to work, are definitely all of that.”    

Sjodin has been teaching for five years but has been in education for almost 20 years.

Sjodin earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Fresno in Fine Arts with an emphasis in English Literature. He then earned his master’s degree in Fine Arts in Technical Theater with an emphasis in Costume Design from Brigham Young University. 

Before teaching, Sjodin worked as a costume designer for 10 to 15 years with theater companies including the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts and the Sequoia Theater Conservatory. As a costume designer, Sjodin traveled the world and lived in New York for six months. He found New York’s culture different from California’s. Since Sjodin is more laid back, the New York lifestyle did not suit him, so he returned to California.

“It (New York) can be very chaotic, and not necessarily in a bad way. Some people thrive on the chaos,” Sjodin said. “Chaos is really fun to play with.” 

As a former costume designer, Sjodin is proud of his nomination in graduate school for two awards, especially since it was a first for Brigham Young University to have a student who was nominated for two different awards. 

“I was nominated for two awards with the Kennedy Center for my designs,” Sjodin said. “One of them was the one for my master’s thesis, and it was William Shakespeare’s ‘The Winter’s Tale.’” 

In the early 2000s, the housing market crashed, causing many of the companies Sjodin worked for to go out of business, and there was almost no interest in continuing to run the operas and theaters.

“Within a matter of a few weeks, those trusts went from $15 million to $7 million, and the interest was nothing because the market crashed,” Sjodin said.  “And so a lot of those companies folded because they couldn’t produce anything anymore. The jobs went away, and I didn’t see a way for those to get better anytime soon.”Sjodin found the transition from costume designer to teacher relatively easy, initially substituting in various capacities.

“I’d go in and substitute as an aide or a campus security person at the school district I went to growing up,” he said. 

Sjodin is excited to be co-teaching with English teacher Sara Silverman, who he worked with at Gunderson High School before coming to SCHS.  

“She pushed me to apply here,” Sjodin said. “She said, ‘I don’t want to do it unless I can do that with you.’ She said, ‘I want to co-teach with you,’ so she got me to apply for the job, and now I’m working with one of my best friends.”  

Sjodin is now currently co-teaching English and is excited to be teaching something new because he has never taught English before. 

“I didn’t specifically sign up to teach English. That’s just what my current assignment is. At Gundersen High School, where I came from, I taught math and science, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of teaching something new and learning how to instruct in a different way,” Sjodin said. “Math is very analytical and straightforward. The same for science. English tends to be a little more nuanced, so I’m kind of excited about learning how to construct from that aspect.”

Due to Sjodin being a special education teacher, he earned a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, which differs from a Single Subject Teaching Credential. 

“I teach all the subjects. When you’re a special ed teacher, your credential is called a Multiple Subject Credential,” Sjodin said. “You’re able to teach all subjects.” 

Sjodin appreciates the worthwhile moments in his teaching career, especially ones where students indulge in and cherish what they are learning. He finds it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of his job.

“I really like seeing the kids get it, that flash of understanding in their eyes when it was something that they worked really, really hard to understand. And that when they finally do that, that sense of calm, that sense of ability and achievement is really cool,” Sjodin said. “For me, I really enjoy seeing a student understand something they didn’t understand before.”