Meet Brandon Priest – Board Member

priest familyI have a big family. I am married with four kids. My oldest is Artem, then Silas, Jonah,
and a foster daughter Justus (we refer to her as Lottie). My wife and I have been married for
over 15 years. I have been involved with DSL off and on for about 12 years. When I moved to
Louisville and I learned about DSL I knew I wanted to be a part of the organization. I have had
a friend from my childhood who has Down Syndrome that changed the trajectory of my life.
The summer before going into high school I was asked to be a companion to a boy who
had Down Syndrome. That summer we started a relationship by swimming, going to movies
and the mall, and playing sports in his yard. As our high school years continued I continued to
build my relationship with him. I was in the band and he would hang out with the band members
during football games, we still hung out on the weekends and breaks. When it was time for me
to go to college he would visit me for a week a year. He did all the activities I did for the week.
He was a college man too. A friend of mine Laura (who later became my wife) would hang out
with him while I was in class or had to work.
Later, when Laura and I got married we talked about adoption and the possibility of
adopting a child with Down Syndrome. We learned of an organization called Reece”s Rainbow
and we adopted our first child, Artem, from Ukraine. He was 2 ½ years old when we spent 33
days in Ukraine going through the adoption process. That was 11 years ago.
Now Artem is 13 years old and is starting to need the resources and connects with DSL
for extracurricular activities and therapies. I have helped out with fundraising and educating
people about DSL, but when the opportunity for me to be on the board I jumped at the chance. I
want Artem to have a place where he belongs and has opportunities to be successful and build
friendships for many more years. If I can have even a small part in helping DSL into the future I
will be happy.
On a more professional note. I am a JCPS teacher at Minors Lane Elementary as a
STEAM teacher. I have been teaching for about 9 years. In August I finished a Masters degree
in Teacher Lead with an emphasis in Trauma-Informed Care through Bellarmine University.
Now, I am pursuing a degree in School Counseling at Spalding University.

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