Amber Edelman was born and raised a military child. After her father finally retired, they settled here in Utah. She attended Weber State University, where she received her bachelor's degree in respiratory therapy. Shortly after graduating she met her husband, Kurtis. He was active-duty Army. She decided to follow him around the United States and begin a family. Together they have 3 children, Kayla, Turner, and Allie, and have recently adopted a daughter named Milena from Colombia.
While her husband was stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, Amber served in the Family Readiness Group. There she led other wives and united them to support the local troops. She was also a part of the Comfort Team where she assisted other wives when there was trauma in their homes. During this time, Amber supported her husband while he was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. Two weeks before his homecoming, he was hit by an IED (roadside bomb) and suffered a severe traumatic brain injury. Amber was told that her husband would not ever be able to perform basic functions, drive a car, or even hold a basic conversation. This began the intensive road to recovery for him. Amber was determined to learn all she could to assist him in his recovery. They relocated back to Utah where she found great passion helping her husband to learn how to do basic things again. After many years he has seen great success in his recovery and is even able to drive a car again. When meeting Kurtis today, many people are not even aware of his injury. His recovery has exceeded the expectations of all his health-care providers.
Amber was selected as the Utah Elizabeth Dole Fellow for the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, which is an organization that empowers, supports, and honors our nation’s military caregivers. She served on many boards during her three-year term as the Utah Dole Fellow. She assisted military families, wounded warriors, and primarily the caregivers of our nation’s wounded soldiers. She sat at round-table discussions with the U.S. Speaker of the House, the Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs, and many other prominent congressmen. Together they worked to identify the needs of caregivers and created the Caregiver Program within the Veteran Affairs system. Amber visited the White House and also rallied on Capitol Hill in DC many times in an effort to provide support and awareness for caregivers of all war eras. Amber has also worked here in the state of Utah with Congressman Rob Bishop and our governor to bring awareness to the silent heroes supporting our nation's wounded soldiers. She’s currently an alumni Dole Fellow.
As Amber’s children reached school age, she was adamant they get the best education possible. She began looking for a place which provided a vision of excellence in education and she found Promontory School of Expeditionary Learning. She quickly put her kids in the lottery, luckily all of them were accepted, and her children started the very first year Promontory opened its doors. Amber volunteered a lot in her children’s classrooms and was eventually offered a job at the school. She worked in many different capacities within the school, but eventually landed in the special education department. There she quickly became the autism behavior specialist. She found that a lot of the skills she had learned assisting her husband in his recovery were applicable within the special education world. After many colleagues commented on her gifted ability to work with children with special needs, she went back to school to become a board-certified behavior analyst. After many years working at Promontory, she left for the next step in her career. She currently writes behavior plans for children with behavior needs, and helps oversee their progress.
Although her children no longer attend Promontory, Amber’s love for Promontory remains strong. She loves the values and the mission and is excited to be back at Promontory as a member of the governing board. She looks forward to the opportunity to give back to the school and to provide a unique perspective.
Gwen Andrus has been learning and teaching most of her life. As a child she would round up anyone who wanted to learn anything and create an impromptu classroom. Everyone was expected to learn something and everyone was expected to teach something too. After receiving several degrees and honors, she still follows this philosophy and is thankful to find a school where, "We are crew."
Gwen started her official teaching career in Provo, Utah. While working, she adopted three children born in China and sponsored three other children by paying for their education. She established the Mei Ming foundation to ease the discomfort of children growing up in orphanages, and she wrote state and national curriculum.
In order to care for her aging parents, Gwen moved with her young family to Sacramento, California. While there she taught public-school students and then helped build a new private school based on children's developmental processes, hands-on learning, multiple intelligences, and cultural literacy. For the next eighteen years she was a teaching principal and continued to create curriculum, teach, and run the school with a gifted and creative staff.
Gwen is delighted to be teaching and learning at Promontory. She sees the unique gifts and strengths of the students, the talented and dedicated staff, and the passionate parents as key factors in the wonderful adventure that is PSEL. From the very beginning of her life, our planet has brought Gwen great joy and peace. She looks forward to sharing this part of the journey with you.
"I am still learning." Michelangelo (age 87)