Part two of a two-part interview.
To many Hamish Brewer is known as the tattooed skateboarding principal. However, he’s also earned a reputation as a fixer. His intense but loving leadership style was a massive success while at Occoquan Elementary in Northen Virginia and this past year he took on a new challenge with Fred Lynn Middle school.
Can he do it again?
In part two of a two-part interview, Brewer tells us how he did not sugarcoat the challenge ahead for his students and teachers at Fred Lynn.
“People were having a lot to say about our school, my students. They were making assumptions, they were making generalizations, and a lot of people had something to say about my school that didn’t know my school.”
Brewer says before he came on board they had a lot of students going to other schools that were supposed to go to Fred Lynn. But he says in just one year that’s changed, they’ve turned around a considerable transfer rate.
One of the first steps Brewer took at Fred Lynn was to move his office to a central location in the school.
“I’m trying to say to them that their business is my business. My business is their business. That I’m available, that I’m there for them. That I’m visible, that I’m in the middle of everything, that I’m up in the middle of their stuff,” says Brewer.
“That they can’t turn around without me being there to support them, hold them accountable and be right there in the thick of the action. And that’s a message not just for students but for adults also. I sent a message to the adults that I’ve got your back that I’m all in. That I’m going nowhere.”
The Skateboard Giveaway
Furthermore, Brewer put a skateboard rack right outside his new office. He loves to skate himself, and he hands out skateboards to students that have worked hard or met goals.
“I also give it to kids that need a pick-me-up. They need some love, they need to be showered with some love, taken care of, given a voice,” says Brewer.
To hear more on how Brewer’s first year at Fred Lynn Middle school turned out, listen to Episode 55 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on your favorite podcast app or iTunes.