Bryant High School’s Howard Brewer Is the 2022 Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year
Howard Brewer, Alternative Schools Teacher for Interagency Alternative Schools located at Bryant High School, has been selected as the 2022 Virginia Region 4 Teacher of the Year. Dr. Scott Brabrand, superintendent, presented the award at a surprise ceremony in the Bryant High School library today. Brewer is also now a finalist for the 2022 Mary J. Bicouvaris Virginia Teacher of the Year award from Superintendent Scott Brabrand.
Dr. Brabrand presented Brewer with his award, saying, “We are thrilled for you. You served your country in the U.S. Navy, you served the Fairfax County community by being a teacher here at Bryant, and we are honored and inspired. In the pandemic, you were front and center in the classrooms. You’re not just a teacher but a life coach. You’re not only an inspiration to your students, but you’re a personal inspiration to me.”
Brewer, a U.S. Navy Veteran, is a career-switcher. After leaving the Navy, Howard attended college and credits his mentor, Dr. Rita Giles, for recruiting him into education upon his graduation. Howard says, “She showed me how I could give back to my community and make a lasting impact on young people. The first time a student told me ‘you saved my life’, I knew I couldn’t be anywhere else. I believe God puts people in your life for a reason and puts you in the right place for your season.”
He also credits his mother, a college professor, as well as his wife, Sylvia, an educator for District of Columbia Public Schools. He says, “These three strong women held me up and helped me get on the right path and this is the fruits of that labor.”
Assistant Principal Brandon Morehead states, “Mr. Brewer is not only an academic teacher to the students, but he is also a life coach. He takes pride in getting to know the students and being a mentor to them, where he provides guidance in education and life. I can truly say because of Mr. Brewer many students have completed grade levels, graduated, stayed out of jail, and stayed alive.”
Nominated by Principal Jennifer Knox, she touts Brewer’s good works. “Mr. Brewer’s impact transcends his students and their families. He makes his colleagues better teachers by committing to laughter each day, by embracing each day with deep joy, by designing and modeling creative lessons that engage students and garner high interest, by building a deep sense of team and family among his colleagues, by being brave with “fierce conversations” about important issues that affect culture and safety and belonging, and by building strong partnerships with court agencies, probation officers, police, and community mentors. Every single adult who has worked alongside Howard Brewer agrees emphatically on one thing: “He makes me better.”
Brewer claims one of the reasons he got into education after the military is to affect young people, and to be acknowledged for doing that is “the greatest feeling in the world.”
The next step for Brewer takes place October 14 when he will meet the Governor and represent Region 4 for the Virginia Teacher of Year award in Richmond.