An Iowa homeschool graduate has been elected attorney general in Iowa.
Brenna Bird was chosen by Iowa voters in November of 2022 to serve in this vital and demanding role in our state government. She assumed the office on January 3, 2023.
Would you like to hear about Brenna Bird’s “flight path”
from Iowa homeschool student
to newly-elected Iowa attorney general? Read on!
Brenna’s family started homeschooling in the 1980s, before Iowa law formally recognized home education. Her parents withdrew Brenna and her siblings from public school enrollment when Brenna was in 8th grade.
At that time, removing a student who was entering the high school years from the public school system might have been viewed as unwise and, to some, even dangerous. Brenna’s experience proved the opposite.
“Homeschooling kept me grounded
in faith and family,
while also challenging me to learn.
You can’t slip under the radar
when you’re the one student in the room.
It also allowed me to experience
the educational freedom to explore my interests.”
In Brenna’s experience, home education was a key component in developing the characteristics needed for her future pursuits.
“Homeschooling taught me to be self-motivated, independent, and accountable.
I wouldn’t be where I am today without it.”
Brenna’s high school years in a homeschool setting actually enhanced her life trek toward being elected attorney general in Iowa.
“I knew from an early age
that I wanted to be involved in
making a difference in my community.
Because of my homeschooling,
I was able to have a personalized education plan
and freedom to explore.”
Naturally inclined toward interest in the political process, Brenna attended her first Iowa caucus when she was 12 years old. She also began serving as a volunteer in political campaigns.
Brenna was a participant in the homeschool community efforts in the late 1980s and early 1990s at the Iowa Capitol to advocate for legal recognition of home education in Iowa.
Because her homeschool educational setting provided unique flexibility, Brenna was able to pursue individually tailored activities, like participation in ALA Iowa Girls State and service as an Iowa House of Representatives page. She also served as an intern in Iowa Senator Charles Grassley’s office.
Even with all of these politically related pursuits, Brenna still found time to be involved in 4-H, raise animals on the family farm, and play the flute.
As Brenna’s final days of homeschooling were drawing to a close, she served as a volunteer at the first statewide conference hosted by Homeschool Iowa (then known as NICHE).
The opening address was presented by then-Governor Terry Branstad. After his presentation, he met Brenna in the lobby, and they chatted about her homeschool experience and future aspirations. Even then, Brenna’s potential was clearly evident.
At that time, there were no formal ceremonies like our Homeschool Iowa Graduation, so Brenna and her family celebrated her homeschool completion quietly at home.
After completing homeschool high school, Brenna attended Drake University.
Did Brenna find her homeschooling background to be a handicap? Not at all.
was a solid educational foundation for college
and, later, law school.
Learning at home on my own
taught me how to learn independently
and to think for myself.”
When she graduated from Drake University, Brenna went on to receive her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Chicago Law School.
While completing her studies there, she served as symposium editor of the school’s law journal. In addition to her law studies, Brenna also devoted efforts to help entrepreneurs on Chicago’s South Side start their own businesses.
Prior to being elected attorney general of Iowa, Brenna served as a prosecutor for six years, first as the Fremont County attorney and then as the Guthrie County attorney.
She was elected to leadership roles by her peers within the Iowa County Attorney Association, including serving as the association's president.
Brenna also engaged in the private practice of law, working both in the Iowa governor’s office and in the U.S. House of Representatives. Additionally, she has taught as an adjunct professor at the University of Iowa College of Law.
Brenna Bird taking the oath of office as the newly elected Iowa attorney general.
Are you inspired by Brenna’s story? We are!
Narratives like Brenna’s serve as clear evidence that homeschooling is not a detrimental or limiting educational choice, and, in fact, can produce extraordinary results.
Brenna’s parents would assure you that they had no special training or expertise, just a dedicated desire for their child’s best.
We asked Brenna what message she would like to share with students currently being homeschooled in Iowa.
“My advice is to
embrace your family,
seize opportunities to explore your interests,
and stay true to what you believe in.
If you do those four things,
the right doors will open.”