Born in the Bronx and raised in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, Brendan grew up fascinated by his father's stories of his family's long history in labor rights movements in New York. He studied history and Spanish at State University of New York at New Paltz and got his start in education as an English teacher at a Catholic school in Barcelona, Spain. He was impressed by the closeness and affection of the school's community between teachers, students, and their families. Students were instructed in three languages, given ample opportunities to exercise, and were exposed to various pedagogical approaches. After a year abroad, he spent two years teaching fourth grade in the South Bronx.
In his last year in the classroom, Brendan began the year as a special education teacher and took over a general education class due to coworker resignations halfway through the school year. He worked to transform the classroom culture into a reflective, safe, and positive environment, and received an excellence award for growth in his students' achievement.
Brendan was attracted to E4E because he was dissatisfied with the efforts in New York City educational movements to address student achievement without identifying or seeking to change the root causes of the inequities he experienced in the public school system.