Saturday, April 23, 2016
Alvin Brennan is proof positive the district doesn't care about its teachers.
As news of Alvin Brennan leaving First Coast high school circulates around the district, I can’t help but think about all the teacher whose lives he negatively impacted and wonder who cares for them.
I first heard the name Alvin Brennan in 2010 when he became principal of what was then Forrest high school. He would come into staff meetings belligerent and threatening. He would pick on and harass teachers threatening their jobs, especially ones, mostly women, that he considered weak. There was no sense of comrade and one friend who survived to year two of his reign of terror there said it was a teacher bloodbath.
When Superintendent Vitti brought him back to the district two and a half years ago to First Coast high school, a successful school with a veteran staff for Brennan had changed little. I remember meeting one teacher at European Street where she told me about how intimidating he was and how the stress was leading to health problems.
In Brennan’s two and a half years there nearly a hundred teachers left, many veterans and some left the profession entirely. They had their lives turned upside down by a man who had known business being a principal in the first place.
I can’t help but think about how many hundreds of teachers and their children who were negatively affected by this tyrant in a tie over the years. Who cares about them and what they had to go through?
A principal like a good coach is supposed to make their staff, their team better, and this isn’t to say they can’t kick the occasional ass, but their number one job is that of a cheerleader. Alvin Brennan was the opposite of this, he ran his schools with an iron glove, and fear and intimidation where the two tools in his tool box, and for the last two and a half years the district has been okay with that as he ran First Coast into the ground.
Now is every principal as bad as Brennan? Absolutely not but how many train wrecks, or car accidents, or tyrants is an acceptable number? How many teachers run out of the profession or made miserable is acceptable too?
If anybody has any doubt if the district cares about its teachers or not then all they have to do is look to First Coast and see that they don’t.
So good riddance Alvin Brennan you won’t be missed by many but shame on you Duval County Public schools for putting him in a positin where he could needlessly disrupt so many lives.