UPDATED: Video Celebrates Unconventional Fred Lynn Principal

| October 25, 2017 | 0 Comments | Education

Image from Freethink video of Principal Hamish Brewer.

UPDATED: Oct. 27, at 2 p.m. 

Virginia Board of Education granted Fred Lynn Middle School partial accreditation as of Oct. 26. 

A new viral video from Freethink is celebrating Hamish Brewer, the new Principal of Fred Lynn Middle School in Woodbridge.

Described by Freethink as the New Zealand “tattooed, skateboarding principal,” Brewer immediately comes into Fred Lynn with unparalleled enthusiasm. It would be very difficult not to respond to such a charismatic leader.

Hamish is the former principal of Occoquan Elementary. He took it from a struggling school to earning School of Excellence five years in a row.

Now, Brewer has been reassigned to Fred Lynn, a Title I school with many challenges.

As of Tuesday, the school it was classified as unaccredited. The majority of students who attend Fred Lynn face certain challenges; most are economically disadvantaged and a large percentage of students are English Language Learners.

However, Oct. 26, Prince William County Schools announced that Virginia Board of Education voted to approve PWCS’ request to have Fred Lynn Middle School’s 2017-18 accreditation status updated from Accreditation Denied to Partially Accredited: Reconstituted School. The Virginia Board of Education’s vote came as a result of a recommendation made to them by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Steven R. Staples. 

“The entire community, School Board, and school leaders are behind an effort to transform Fred Lynn Middle School. Led by Principal Hamish Brewer, in just a few short weeks, teachers say his leadership has made a difference, and everyone is “all in” for a “relentless” effort to excel,” said Director of Community Relations for Prince William Public Schools, Irene Cromer.

The Freethink video implies that Brewer is just what the school needed to improve test scores, attitudes and revamp the school’s reputation. But the real change was winning the hearts and minds of the teachers, students and families.


This Tattooed, Skateboarding Principal is Making Education Fun…

This tattooed, skateboarding principal from New Zealand isn’t your normal principal. And his results aren’t normal either.

Posted by Freethink on Tuesday, October 24, 2017


Occoquan school board member, Lillie Jessie, praised Brewer for his success at Occoquan Elementary.

“I have been in this field for more than 35 years. I have been blessed to see children learn who by all measures were not suppose to learn,” said Jessie. “The formula in high performing schools is always the same: accelerate rather than remediate, belief in the ability of ALL not some children to learn. Create that culture and you can’t stop students from learning. It is called the ‘It’ factor.  Hamish Brewer has ‘It.'”

The ‘It’ factor, is the ability to motivate everyone in the school community, Jessie explained.

“There has to be student, parent and staff engagement. Secondly, he shares belief in the ‘ability’s’ students to learn regardless of income, race or ethnicity. I saw him last Saturday and he said, your income does not dictate your level of learning.”

At Fred Lynn, Jessie said you can feel the ‘It factor’ immediately in the school environment.

“What is different at Fred Lynn is that you can feel ‘It’ and see it,” said Jessie. “It starts with the physical culture. High levels of learning and heroes are on the walls. Expectations of high learning is stated each day on the P.A. System. Teachers are engaged in collaborative planning.  All of this is a part of the research or ‘What Works’ I was upset when I lost him at Occoquan but hope that he can change the face of Fred Lynn.”


This article had first been update with quotes from school board member, Oct. 27 around 12 p.m. At 2 p.m., the article was again revised to reflect Fred Lynn’s partial accreditation status. 

© 2017, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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