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Why Principal Hamish Brewer is loved by students and teachers at Occoquan Elementary School

Hamish Brewer is a hometown hero.

The Occoquan Elementary School principal was honored November 13 during a live morning news broadcast on WTTG-TV Channel 5 in Washington. He was presented the “hometown hero” award for his work with students, parents, and teachers.

A third-grade student nominated Brewer for the award. It is his fourth year as principal at the elementary school located at 12915 Occoquan Road in Woodbridge.

“When you’re working with students you have to have meaningful relationships,” Brewer told Potomac Local. “When children feel like they can trust the people around them they feel like they can become vulnerable and available.”

Brewer demonstrates his willingness to connect with students over the morning announcements. Earlier this fall, Brewer’s favorite football team the Pittsburgh Steelers had won a game. Dressed in a Steelers jersey, Brewer opened his morning announcements with excitement over his team’s victory the night before.

“When a teacher and student are able to connect and collaborate, the students feel like they can share, they feel like they can take risks with learning,” said Brewer.

Brewer worked at Ellis Elementary School in Prince William County, just outside Manassas before coming to Occoquan Elementary. Brewer came to the U.S. from his home country of New Zeland 12 years ago. He also served as the Regional Director of VIF International Education, a cultural exchange program for teachers.

Brewer also serves as a volunteer firefighter in Stafford County.

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