The Tattooed, Skater Principal Making Education Fun Again | Freethink


– Boys and girls, I brought you all in here because I wanted to talk to you about a couple of things. There’s people that talk about you that don’t even know you! You know what they say? There’s lots of fights. There’s lots of trouble. Well, we’re gonna change that! – [Students] Yes, sir. – We don’t want nobody talking about our school
a certain way no more. We are not here to be average, we’re here to be amazing. Does everybody understand? – [Students] Yes, sir! – And by the way, you have to be the change. In education, we’ve got a huge problem. We’ve gotta move away from this
archaic educational process where we build these
schools on square boxes, and kids fill these square boxes. The world isn’t a square box no more. Times changed, kids have changed, and we gotta move with that. How far are you willing to go for a child? My name is Hamish Brewer, and I am not your typical principal. I’m trying to change the game for principal. what’s funny is, I’ve always seen myself as a educational disruptor. Because I was so frustrated with the way education’s
been done for so long, I think I was just on a
mission to disrupt the norm. Before I got to Occoquan, Occoquan was a sleepy little school. It was ready to be awoken, and we are working the beast there. If there was a way to make that experience for our kids authentic and relevant, we were gonna do it. We went to unlimited field trips. We changed their lighting
to daylight bulbs. We went to an audio enhanced classroom, revolutionized the classroom. So as a school we went in that direction, then it just exploded from there. In five years, we won five
School of Excellence awards. We’re not defined by letter grades. We’re not defined by a number. We’re defined by what we do. – [Student] Now let’s give it up for the best principal in the world! – [Principal Brewer] Are we average? – [Students] No! – [Principal Brewer] What are we? – [Students] Relentless! – [Principal Brewer] It’s
unbelievable the journey at Occoquan is coming to an end. We created such a magical
experience with kids and adults. I wanna get back to
disrupting the flow again. It’s sad to say goodbye, but I’m excited now to say that I’m transitioning this summer to be the new principal at
Fred Lynn Middle School. – Bye Mr. Brewer. – [Student] I’m gonna miss you. – I’m gonna miss you too, sweetheart. I love you. Love ya. When I was a kid, I was always dreaming of
the things I didn’t have or couldn’t have. That became my inspiration
and my aspiration. I think part of what
makes my principalship and leadership style so successful is that I’m trying not to repeat the mistakes that were made for me. I was one of these kids. I know what it’s like to
come from a separated family. I know what it’s like
to see too much alcohol, and other things, and all the
poverty that comes with it. I know what it’s like to eat pizza ’cause it’s cheaper to get
a piece of pizza that night than it is to have a full meal. When you can relate to them on that level, that’s when you can change the game. This work isn’t for everybody. You’re gonna hear and see things that might really break your heart reminding you of how
much work is left to do. In schools where you’ve
got a lot of diversity and a lot of poverty, often folks don’t always stay. These kids have people revolving
in and out of their lives. I have to be the constant. I came here because I wanted to be here. I want Fred Lynn, I want this school. Historically Fred Lynn has underachieved. It hasn’t been where we wanted it to be. We want that explosion of growth now. We want to unlock its true potential. If this doesn’t change, I’ve failed a community. I’ve failed children. I can’t fail. This community is counting on me. This community knows me, they believe in me. I can’t fail them. That’s not an option. You just want it counted, nothing underneath it, right? – You just need to count ’em. – All right, done. Done, consider it done. Give me your receipt, sign it, I’ll pay for it. It doesn’t matter where I am, I want to do something magical. I’m gonna look for those opportunities in a building to do that. I’m doing it here at Fred Lynn, I did it at Occoquan. This is my house. Like, this is mine now. Welcome to my house! One of my favorite things to do is to change the face of the facility. I want to make it that
most amazing a place for kids to come. I don’t want them to be
short-changed on anything. These kids have enough
short-changed in their life, let alone coming to a school and being short-changed in a school. The kids at Fred Lynn are gonna see and feel a different message, to go to a place they’ve
never been before, and they’re surrounded by that. When you can look on a wall, and you see Dr. King or you see Steve Jobs, you instantly go to a new place. You have to unlock the
potential of these kids! We have to be the advocate for them, the voice for them that’s never been! When I was kid, the most
amazing experiences I had, I was having fun. I’ve tried to recreate
that here at Fred Lynn. Everything I do is about kids. Every decision I make comes back to was I better for kids today. It’s about having fun. It’s good to see you,
thanks for coming out. Mr. Brewer, the new principal, I appreciate you guys coming out. I had a bunch of teachers, “Do you want us to come help?” and I’m like, “Nah, we
might get 10 people.” I’m in trouble, the place is packed. It’s so important to have
buy-in from the community because that’s what’s gonna
move the needle forward. If we don’t have buy-in, nothing changes.
What’s up, man, how ya doin’? Good to see ya, is this your guy? – Yes. – I’m Mr. Brewer, your new principal, and I am super excited
to be the new principal, the new director here at
Fred Lynn Middle School! I came from a school that was one of the very best in the nation. We did not start that way, but we finished that way. We plan to make Fred Lynn the next best school in the nation. All right? I can’t do this without you. You’re signing up to be
part of an amazing school and changing the narrative of
what happens in Woodbridge, what happens at Fred Lynn, and I need you. All right, there’s no opt-out, all in means all in. We have a gang mentality almost here. You’re either in our gang or you’re not. There’s no opting out of what
we want to do and achieve. All hands on deck, all hands on deck. Let’s go! Open ’em up, let’s go! All right, let’s go, game time! Game time, let’s go! Good morning, Hornets, it’s our time! It’s go time! It’s gonna be special this year. I want to see you thinking
about being relentless, also, and this, if somebody didn’t tell
you today they love you, Mr. Brewer’s telling you
today that he loves you. Have a great day! Down low, down low, down low! Up high, up high! Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go! Let’s get to class, let’s hustle! So today is the first day at Fred Lynn Middle School, first day back. Good morning, everybody! – [Students] Good morning, Mr. Brewer. – Great job! You guys excited today? I’m excited to see you guys. We’re big on manners, all right? Mr. Brewer’s chasing that stuff down. – We’ve had principals sometimes
where the kids are like, “Who is the principal?” I mean that’s awful, right? He’s showing the kids
what the expectation is but he’s also coming into our classroom. I mean they’re gonna know
who he is in three seconds. – Already you have kids saying, “Yes, sir. “Yes, ma’am.” You have kids looking you in the eyes saying good morning. They’re walking on the
correct side of the hallway. They’re more on time. – I texted some of the
teachers from Occoquan and said, “He’s doing it again.” That transitioning, that energy, it’s contagious. – I feel alive again. I feel like, “Hey, this is
why I became a teacher,” was to do cool stuff so
we can inspire these kids. If you wouldn’t believe before today, you’re believing now. Never again will anybody doubt us. I’m gonna tell you why I’m
asking you to work so hard, because life ain’t easy. Life is not gonna give you handouts. We are going to change the conversation about our school. I need your help. You have to be the answer. You have to be the change. You’re gonna be relentless! If we can help people grow or help people be the change or evolve to that place, then we’ve helped all kids. It’s gotta be beyond just what we did here at Occoquan or Fred Lynn. The ultimate goal is to help all kids. All kids deserve this. Baa! Who’s your favorite principal today? – [Student] Right now you are. – Yeah, good answer! Oh, this is great! Can I come and hang out in your class? – [Cellphone App] Make a left, sucker! – All right, Mr. T., let’s roll. You guys are crazy, you’re having way too much fun in here. Stop that. Stop that business.

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