Dothan teachers hear from unusual speaker during "Mid-Year Celebration"

Thousands of Dothan teachers hear from a tattooed, skateboarding principal during "Mid-Year Celebration"
Thousands of Dothan teachers hear from a tattooed, skateboarding principal during "Mid-Year Celebration"(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jan. 3, 2020 at 6:03 PM CST
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Dothan City Schools teachers are gearing up for the second semester since re-structuring.

Before classes start back on Monday, they got a pep talk from a rather unusual public speaker today.

It was about reflecting on this past semester and looking forward to finishing the school year.

Dothan City Schools wanted to inspire their teachers to finish the year well, so they brought in a guest speaker to give them a new perspective.

"Whatever worked 20 years ago doesn't work now,” said Public Speaker Hamish Brewer. “Our kids are faster than a McDonald's."

Hamish Brewer isn't your ordinary principal.

He's got tattoos, skateboards and spray paints all over his schools.

He may be unusual, but he gets results.

"96% pass rate in reading, 96% pass rate in math and a 92% pass rate in science on all state exams,” said Brewer while he talked about the school he is principal of. “Don't tell me poverty is a learning disability."

Dothan City Schools brought the TEDx speaker to the circle city to help inspire the teachers at the first ever mid-year celebration.

"I'm ready to tackle the day on Monday to see if I can take the tools that he gave us and present them and bring them into our environment on Monday,” said Dothan Prep Teacher Amy Martin.

After his TED talk-like speech, Brewer talked to hundreds of teachers one-on-one during a book signing afterward.

"I'm going to be a little bit more inspired to greet my students a little bit better and know their stories,” said Dothan High Teacher Travis Adams.

"We've got to stop this business of teaching in silos,” said Brewer. “The silos have to go."

Brewer took an elementary school from the 34th percentile of learning in the State of Virginia to the 96th percentile.

Dothan City Schools doesn't have that much of a climb to make, but the system is looking to improve on its 81 on last year's report card.

"It is easy to stay on the sidelines and to point fingers and say, 'This isn't working or that's not working,'” said Superintendent Phyllis Edwards. “What we really need is for everyone to come around us, because there isn't anything that we can't fix.”

"When we give our kids the power to write, we give them the power to change the world,” said Brewer. “When we give them the power to read, we give them the power to change the world."

The Dothan City School Board thanked Brewer for coming to speak by giving him his very own Dothan skateboard.

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