Brenda Duffey was born in Jefferson County, Kentucky. She came from a typically large Southern family that was raised on Kentucky fried chicken and conservative Bible Belt philosophy. She received her BA degree in 1967 from a small Baptist college that is now part of the University of Louisville. In 1986, she received her MSW from the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. Part of the simple, homespun philosophy espoused by her father were hard work and “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps” through education. That is why she decided to enter the field of public education after receiving her BA with endorsements in history and English.
Ms. Duffey has spent over twenty-five years in the classroom in a variety of educational settings in many states including Kentucky, Indiana, North Carolina, New Mexico, and Oregon. Her focus was always on helping students from diverse ethnic groups and economic status attain competence in English communication skills as well as understand themselves and their connection to American society through understanding their past and their collective heritage. Ms. Duffey retired from teaching in 2003. At that time, she was teaching at a correctional facility for adjudicated males in Oregon. The idea for The Peacemaker originated in 1997 when she was teaching a course in Native American history at Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon.
Ms. Duffey now resides in her home on “God’s little half acre” in Florence, Oregon, with her cat, Babs. She has two biological daughters, who live in Southern California, and one adopted daughter with her three grandchildren, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia.