Takeoff: To Serve and Protect, Veteran Mr. Vanderberg’s Path to Teaching at Chaminade

Mr. Vanderberg joined the Chaminade Family this year after spending three years at Kellenberg. Previously, he had served in the United States Navy as an officer.

By Andreas Pantazakos ’19

After spending three months as a part of the Chaminade Family, each new teacher is becoming familiar with the school.  Mr. Peter Vanderberg, a teacher who guides his students by combining Chaminade’s innovative educational ideas with his years of experience, already feels right at home.

Mr. Vanderberg grew up on Long Island and attended St. Anthony’s High School where he was a dedicated member of the crew team.  Now an English teacher, Mr. Vanderberg transformed over the course of his high school career from a student who didn’t enjoy English to a fervent fan of literature and writing.  

After graduating from high school, he attended Fordham University with his sights set on becoming an archaeologist.  However, he ultimately decided that this profession was not for him, and he continued to search for his true calling.  Mr. Vanderberg eventually chose to serve his country and join the navy.  

Between 1999 and 2003, he served as an officer and was deployed to the Middle East twice.  During this time, he discovered his zeal for writing and, despite his love for the camaraderie of the navy, chose to become a teacher.  Upon returning home, he earned his Master’s Degree in Education at Queen’s College.

If there’s one thing Mr. Vanderberg has learned from his diverse background, it is that no one should be afraid to change direction in his or her life.  “You can have a family, be a doctor, a writer.  You can be everything you want to be.  Follow your instincts, do what you love, and don’t just worry about the money,” advised Mr. Vanderberg.

After obtaining his Master’s, he soon became an English teacher at St. John’s Preparatory School and was the head of the Art Department. He then joined the Marianist family at Kellenberg Memorial, where he taught for another three years.  The Chaminade family now has the privilege of benefiting from Mr. Vanderberg’s years of experience, not as only a teacher, but also as a courageous man who has fought for our country.

Mr. Vanderberg firmly believes that teaching is one of the most rewarding aspects of his life.  He explains, “I love those moments in class where we are having conversations and students are coming up with ideas I haven’t even thought of before.  I love when we are all talking about literature and making discoveries together.”