Thornton Academy Postscripts Alumni Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 32

Alumni in the News Jennifer (Conley) Burnett ’98 Brooks Landry ’00 With a $1,000 loan from his father, Brooks Landry ’00 took his entrepreneurial spirit and drove cross-country from Saco to San Diego. Brooks’ friends and even some family thought he would run out of money and return home in a few weeks. 15 years later, Brooks owns one of the top rated real estate firms in San Ramon, California. “I was ready for a change from the bank I was working at. My friend Patrick Nannery ’99 was in San Diego working for a mortgage company. I’d always had an interest in real estate. So I started at the mortgage company he was managing. I quickly learned the ins and outs of the mortgage process.” For six years Brooks worked in the mortgage industry and found much success there. However, he was ready to transition into real estate. “My wife, Jill, and I were both in the mortgage industry at that time. We were ready to go off on our own. So we moved up to the Bay area and as luck would have it, got started right when the housing market was crashing. We probably started at the worst possible time.” 32 1811 Society: Steve Cote ’64 After a brief stint with Keller Williams and Pacific Union Luxury Real Estate, Brooks went into business for himself. In 2010, he established the Brooks Landry Group, a boutique real estate brokerage firm that serves the San Francisco East Bay area. “Everyone in the Bay area knew a realtor. We didn’t know anyone at the time. We had to build our name from the ground up. I’m an ultra-competitive person so I accepted the challenge. We worked hard to gain our clients’ trust and respect. I’m at the office early and often times stay late. You get out of it what you put into it.” Jennifer (Conley) Burnett ’98, a first grade teacher at Walter Caldwell Elementary in Florida, was named a Finalist for Polk County’s Teacher of the Year. A leader in instructional technology with 13 years of teaching experience, Jennifer was recognized for her leadership and professional development activities, community and school involvement, and teaching style. In remarks shared during the awards ceremony for this recognition, it was noted, “She fosters a love for learning by making every lesson magical. Jennifer has been known to dress up like a mad scientist and sing and dance in her classroom. As a technology coach, Ms. Burnett also incorporates the Kindle Fires she obtained for her class by using online quizzes and educational apps to engage her students.” Brooks has been named by Comcast TV. as a Top Rated Real Estate Agent for San Ramon. He’s also been featured in Top Agent Magazine (Northern California edition), and recently sold the house of the lead singer for Motley Crue (Vince Neil) for $2.5 million. His brokerage firm currently has seven agents with plans to expand to 12 by the end of the year. The key to Brooks’ success is transparency, honesty, and a strong work ethic. “I got my hard work ethic from my father and from growing up in Main e. New Englanders are known out here for their work ethic. When we started, we made friends with other realtors. Many of their offices have closed since the housing crash, but ours remains open and growing.” BY KRISSY MAILMAN | PHOTOS COURTESY OF BROOKS LANDRY Perusing the pages of the 1964 Tripod yearbook, Steve Cote’s senior photo and biography share the story of a young, bright, and involved student who took advantage of many fantastic opportunities at Thornton Academy. Steve was involved in everything from serving as a Class Officer to Science Club. He recognized at an early age that his relationship with Thornton Academy did not stop at graduation. In fact, as a member of the 1811 Society, Steve has a meaningful lifelong commitment to his alma mater. Steve shared that his parents placed a great emphasis on education. His father, Charles, attended Thornton Academy for only one year during the Great Depression. Because of tough times, Charles left school to work for the family business, Seal Rock Bottling Company. His father went on to be a successful businessman, Mayor of Saco, and served on the Thornton Academy Board of Trustees for 12 years. He married Dorothy, a graduate of Biddeford High School. Charles and Dorothy passed along the values of hard work, education, and service to their children Steve ’64, Eric ’65, Marjory Cote Stewart ’68, and Suzanne Cote Lemont ’71. In reflecting upon his time at Thornton, Steve fondly remembers his teachers and classmates well. He still stays connected by attending football games and musical events on campus. Steve also doesn’t miss a class reunion and attends the Senior Alumni Reunion held every September. He is thankful for the Thornton alumni network and looks forward to reconnecting with his former BY EMMA DEANS | PHOTO COURTESY OF JENNIFER BURNETT classmates to reminisce about the good times. Thornton provided an educational foundation allowing Steve to pursue a college degree, see the world, and later return home to care for his parents. He shared that “one thing led to another” in his life—from his years at Thornton, to college at the University of New Hampshire, and beyond. He earned a degree in Political Science and credits his interest in the subject to his TA teacher, Bill Farrington. Steve also joined the U.S. Air Force, which provided a scholarship for the last two years of his college education. He served for 12 years and traveled all over the world from Turkey to Tokyo. Although his work took him across the globe, Saco never felt too far away as his mother sent him weekly letters with updates from home. After leaving the Air Force, Steve moved home to pursue a new career. He visited the McArthur Library to look for jobs in the newspaper and discovered an ad in the New York Times for a security position at a nuclear plant in Michigan. After working hard at the nuclear power plant for 20 years, Steve chose to retire as the Director of Security to assist his aging parents. In the summer of 2001, Steve moved home to Saco to live in the house where he grew up. Photos and artifacts from Seal Rock Bottling Company are proudly on display throughout his home, along with family portraits, his Thornton Academy yearbook, and a plaque dedicated to his father’s years of service as a Trustee. As a visitor in his home, it is immediately clear that Steve is proud of where he came from. Steve has been a loyal supporter of the Thornton Fund for nearly thirty years. “Once a year, I send a check to Thornton Academy. I left with a good feeling and want to support an institution dedicated to educating kids in the community,” he said. Caring for his parents caused Steve to think about planning for his future. So in his will he decided to make a gift to Thornton Academy. Steve can’t remember what specifically motivated him join the 1811 Society but shared that it simply “felt like a natural thing to do.” When asked why other alumni should consider making a planned gift to Thornton Academy, the answer comes to Steve easily: “Consider what you gained in your time at Thornton. It is our responsibility to help Thornton, a well-respected community institution, to continue to provide quality education for years to come.” STORY BY LINDSAY LAPRAD HUDNOR | PHOTO BY KRISSY MAILMAN 33