Meet Ms. Sheen, Cypress Creek’s New Journalism Adviser


Cypress Creek’s journalism students were met with a big surprise as spring break came around – their beloved adviser, Mr. Woods, was leaving his position as a teacher for a communications director for a gas and oil company. Though it was hard to say goodbye, one door closing always leads to another one opening.

For some time after break, students were under the supervision of a substitute teacher until they received another (more pleasant) surprise – there was going to be a new, permanent journalism adviser.

The new journalism adviser turned out to be Brianna Sheen. Prior to taking her new position, Sheen taught freshman PACE this year and last year. Sheen shared her journey from being a PACE teacher to Creek’s new journalism adviser.

“I heard that the position was coming open, but I wasn’t really sure when,” Sheen said. “So I reached out to both admin and Mr. Woods to get some more information because I was really interested in the role. It turned out that the role was coming open much sooner than I anticipated, being right after spring break. Everyone was on board, so I just had to get things in order in my old role to be able to move over here.”

For Sheen, becoming Creek’s new journalism adviser is both an exciting experience and an honor.

“It was really exciting and it is an honor because these positions are quite sought after, and they’re super important because of everything you have to oversee,” Sheen said. “It wasn’t something that I could’ve foreseen happening, but I’m really grateful for it, especially because this is my wheelhouse and these are the things I did when I was a student.”

There are many things Sheen wishes to teach her students as the new journalism adviser. One thing she wishes to impart is that students are more capable than they could ever imagine.

“I want to teach my students that they are professionals, and they can both meet professional expectations and produce professional quality work,” Sheen said. “It is perfectly within their capabilities to do that.”

As the new journalism adviser, Sheen hopes to grow the journalism programs, especially in the areas of newspaper, Journalism I, and Photojournalism.

“Yearbook is doing great, and I just want to keep growing that program and get more people on staff and get more books in the hands of students so they have that memory,” Sheen said. “I would like to see newspaper be even more involved with publishing and covering a broader range of stories so that the newspaper has a presence on campus [like] the yearbook does. I would also really like to grow the Journalism I and Photojournalism classes so that those are strong pathways for students who might want to be involved in advanced journalism after they leave those classes.”

As the new journalism adviser, Sheen is looking forward to the creative aspect of her new position.

“I have really looked forward to getting to be creative again,” Sheen said. “That was something that was not as big of a piece in my former role, but I love getting my hands dirty and actually making things, whether it’s stories, layouts, whatever. So I really enjoy getting to help students with the creative aspect of publication.”

When first receiving the news that there would be a new journalism adviser, students say they did not have any expectations. However, Sheen ended up being more than any of the journalism students could ever ask for.

“Honestly, I didn’t really have any expectations for the new director,” junior Scout Marquez said. Marquez is a staff writer for the CCHS Press. “I was very pleasantly surprised by a lot of things about Ms. Sheen. I had not been in contact or had known her prior to this like some of the other students did. Genuinely, she has been a way better teacher than I think any of us can ask for as a replacement in general.”

Like Marquez, junior Crystal Gooding, who is the editor-in-chief of the yearbook, said she did not have any expectations.

“The time period between our old adviser, Mr. Woods, and Ms. Sheen was very chaotic, so I was just excited to have someone who would be with our class for the rest of the year,” Gooding said. “I guess I wasn’t really worried about who it would be as long as it was someone, and I was just looking forward to having a teacher again.”

Both students shared their first impression of Ms. Sheen. Marquez says Ms. Sheen was friendly, yet constructive in a good way.

“My first impression of Ms. Sheen was very friendly and constructive, in a sense.” Marquez said. “All of her criticisms and the way she worked with us was so technical in a really positive way. It was all very direct at making us better journalists. There was no beating around the bush. She has a way of teaching that helped us all grow immensely in a very short period of time.”

For Gooding, what stuck out to her was Ms. Sheen’s enthusiasm and the small, kind gestures she made when she first took over as the journalism director.

“It was really positive. She was very excited and enthusiastic to join the class,” Gooding said. “Even when she first came in and didn’t really know any of the students, she was still emailing us and leaving signs. I could tell she was really enthusiastic about being our teacher, which made me enthusiastic about having her join us.”

When it comes to their experience with Ms. Sheen, both students have had good ones with her, but in different ways. Marquez says his experience with Ms. Sheen has helped him become more punctual. Gooding says that from her experience, Ms. Sheen has been incredibly helpful and open.

“My experience with Ms. Sheen has been very good so far. She has definitely made me better at deadlines,” Marquez said. “Before this, there were stories that I straight up did not complete. Now, I have gotten a lot better with completing my stories on a weekly basis.”

“It’s been really good,” Gooding said. “She’s been really helpful with getting things back together and getting us back on track when it comes to yearbook deadlines and such. She has been super willing to assist us when we need it. Ms. Sheen is really open to change and improving things.”

There are many things that make Ms. Sheen stand out as a teacher; for Marquez, it’s the way she structures her classroom. For Gooding, it’s Ms. Sheen’s passion for teaching.

“Genuinely, she is really great at structuring the class in a way that hasn’t been done in a while,” Marquez said. “She is an amazing teacher and is great at encouraging and assisting us in growing as a journalist, meeting deadlines, and growing the program.”

“One thing I enjoy about Ms. Sheen is her passion for teaching,” Gooding said. “She is always so enthusiastic about being here, assisting students, helping on pages, and being involved. Ms. Sheen has such a positive outlook on something that’s usually really stressful. You can tell she has a passion for helping and being there for students.”

Though the year is about to end, this is only the beginning for Ms. Sheen and Cy Creek’s journalism programs. The next year is sure to hold many opportunities for both Cy Creek’s new adviser and its journalism programs.