Sean Brewer on Madison Central High
Sean Brewer was recently named as the new principal of Madison Central High School. Brewer has more than 23 years in education, 17 of which have been in administration. Most recently, he served for seven years as principal of Rosa Scott School. He is a member of the Mississippi Department of Education’s Commission for School Accreditation. He was also honored in 2010 as Mississippi’s Assistant Principal of the Year from Ridgeland High School. Brewer is a member of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the National College Football Hall of Fame in recognition of his distinguished career on the field at Millsaps College. He earned his Master’s in Educational Leadership from Mississippi College. Brewer recently spoke with Sun reporter Nikki Rowell about his transition into his new role.
As a Vicksburg native, what brought you to this area?
“I had been to multiple other districts and gained experience. What ultimately brought me to this area was twofold. Number one, the respect that Madison County has across the region and across the state makes it an attractive spot as a professional and as a family person with children. Number two, when I was evaluating this move, my father had been diagnosed with ALS. So this opportunity was a blessing. The Lord opened this door to do well in an academic setting in this area and be involved in it and have my kids be a part of it, and also be close enough to provide direct support to my dad and mom through those tough years.”
Why did you choose to pursue a career in education?
“My undergraduate degree is in business administration from Millsaps in 1993. I thought of going off into the business world. I started on an MBA at Ole Miss the next semester. It didn’t take long. I think it was halfway through that semester that I realized that’s not really where my passion was. As I was reevaluating, things began to come clearer. I knew I really enjoyed being in the school setting, both as a student and an athlete, both in extracurricular things, as well as in the curriculum. That brought me back to wanting to be a teacher and a coach to begin with and getting in that environment and being in that career. So I went back through the alternative route.”
While they go hand-in-hand, why did you choose to make the change into administration as opposed to continuing to work in the classroom?
“It’s an opportunity to have a bigger impact and a bigger role. Instead of the students that I directly taught and the teams that I worked with as a coach, but to have an impact on the entire school, entire staff, all the students in the school. It’s the chance to step into a larger role and a new challenge.”
In what way is this position challenging?
“When you are in a classroom, you work with your 25 or so students per period or block. You maybe have 125 or so students, and you deal with those issues and you deal with those students. When you step out and become an administrator, you now have an impact on 1,000 plus students and nearly 100 or more adults. Then you are more directly impacting a couple of thousand parents and grandparents. So it’s a bigger role, bigger challenge, with many more moving parts.”
How is your transition into your new role at a new school going?
“It will be an ongoing transition. Mr. Brown and I have a great relationship and have for a number of years. He’s a colleague and a friend, so we work closely together. Those discussions and plans have already begun. It’s smooth. I’m blessed to have been the principal here for the feeder school for Madison Central for some years and my daughter graduated this past year. So I’ve had the perspective of a colleague, a feeder school, perspective before that of being outside of the district then inside the district, as a part of the zone for a number of years, then as a parent. There’s a lot of comfort in knowing so much of the staff. It’s a comfortable thing.”
What will your day-to-day be like?
“That’s not an easy answer. The day starts early with greeting students, making sure the building is in good shape, making sure staff is in place, the agenda for the day is ready, whatever activities that are planned for the day are in place, planned and ready. Meeting with parents. PTOs. Booster clubs and organizations. The number one job is managing academics of the school on a day-to-day basis and what goes on in the classroom. That’s what we’re here for. That’s focus number one. Working with students, treating them with respect, getting to know them. I know most of them, except those who transferred in, from working with them in the past. Being there through the school day until students go home and well after. Helping people solve problems and being a communicator to all these different groups. You can just imagine that the study of data, recruiting new staff, evaluating current staff, communication with central office, the processes are endless. But the good thing is that there are many good people to work with and do those things well. It’s a team approach for sure.”
What do you plan to accomplish by serving in this capacity?
“What I hope to accomplish is to have Madison Central continue to be the outstanding school that it is and to continue to lead the way academically and maintain the college prep that it’s known for, helping students to continue to have options after high school.”
What work does the Mississippi Department of Education’s Commission for School Accreditation do?
“That group is underneath the state board. So, most, if not all things, policy-wise that the state board looks at comes through our commission for evaluation and vote before it goes to the state commission. So we look at everything from approval, to state accountability model, to the accreditation of schools. If there have been violations of standards that a school or school district would be on probation and/or their accreditation taken away. Our commission takes a look at those things and a number of other things. But that’s just an example of the type of work we do.”
In what way are you involved with this group?
“I am a commission member and have been for seven years. When those issues come up, I participate in the Q&A and the presentations and then vote on those issues.”