Relentless, Not Average: How an Unorthodox Principal Transformed a School

"In education, we've got a huge problem."


Those are the words that drive Hamish Brewer, an educator and principal who has galvanized more than one under-performing school in recent years. He sees himself as an "educational disruptor," and for good reason! Watch him in action in the above video, and you'll see someone who does not look or speak like a stereotypical school principal. His results aren't typical either.

In his role as principal at Occoquan Middle School, Hamish helped transform the learning environment, and in the process he made the school into one of the best in its state. This wasn't by drilling harder for test scores or introducing severe punishments for bad behavior. Rather, Hamish focused on improving the quality of the school experience for his students.

He initiated unlimited field trips and enhanced classrooms with daylight bulbs and audio equipment, and in his 5 years of leadership, Occoquan won 5 School of Excellence Awards.Hamish also credits his connection with students to the way he understands and speaks to kids on their level. Growing up familiar with poverty and substance abuse, the educator says that he is driven to fix what he sees as misguided practices he experienced during adolescence.


"Time's changed, kids have changed. And we've got to move with that," he says.

Hamish has moved on from Occoquan to a new middle school called Fred Lynn, where he's ready to do more disruption. Watch the video to see how he engages the community in his mission, and hear about the changes in student behavior teachers at Fred Lynn experienced in just his first few days.

Video credit: Freethink. To see more inspiring videos, follow us on Facebook and sign up for our Only Good News Newsletter.

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