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Posted November 14, 2013

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Superintendent Gets Advice from High School Students

Winston Brooks met Thursday with members of his student advisory council.

SuperSAC members Jack Hodge and Alexis Gough

APS Superintendent Winston Brooks had a frank discussion with high school students who serve on his advisory council Thursday, then turned to them for advice on how to carry on after sending Twitter messages last week that led to a three-day suspension.

“I screwed up, I got punished, and I’ve learned from my mistake,” Brooks told members of the Superintendent’s Advisory Council or SuperSAC. “Now it’s time for me to be a role model to you.”

Brooks told the students he no longer has a presence on social media.

“A lesson I learned, a lesson we can all learn, is that you probably shouldn’t get involved with something unless you totally understand it and know what the consequences of your actions might be.”

Students were supportive of the superintendent and offered him advice.

“I think you’ve done well in apologizing, in doing everything you can to fix the situation,” one said.

“Now you have to try to repair that relationship,” offered another. “Be courteous, be kind, be patient and earn back that respect.”

They also suggested he might buy a Starbucks for the secretary-designate.

Several students advised the superintendent to ignore the media which often focuses on the negative. “At some point in time it will pass and it won’t be headline news,” said one student.

“Just because this happened doesn’t make you a horrible person,” said another. “Even adults make mistakes.”

“We think you’re a good person and that’s all that matters,” added another.

Brooks told the students that meeting with them on his first day back from the suspension reminded him of why he became an educator in the first place.

“I got in this business over 40 years ago because I love kids and I have all the respect in the world for you,” he said.

The superintendent also said he has spent the past couple of days reading books by Super Bowl-winning Coach Tony Dungy whose message includes “Don’t make excuses.”

“What happened is in the past and you can’t change it,” agreed a SuperSAC member. “You just have to move on.”


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