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‘For the first time, Occoquan Elementary Principal Hamish Brewer was at a loss for words’

Occoquan Elementary School Principal Hamish Brewer, already known for being an outgoing educator who likes to merge fun and learning in the classroomearned national award for outstanding leadership Tuesday.

It was presented to him while we were covering Betsy DeVos’ visit to nearby Ashland Elementary. So, here’s a report from the Prince William County Public Schools Communications Office: 

For the first time, Occoquan Elementary Principal Hamish Brewer was at a loss for words. He was stunned speechless when Jim Baldwin, executive director of the Virginia Association for Elementary School Principals, presented the National Distinguished Principal Award for Virginia to him at a surprise school assembly this morning.

“I’ll accept this for the team,” Brewer said, crediting students, staff, and parents for the school’s tremendous performance since he has been at the helm. Occoquan Elementary has high numbers of low-income families and non-English speaking learners. Earlier this year, the school was named a National Distinguished Title 1 School.

“I love beating the odds every day,” Brewer says. “We have a relentless passion for children, and a relentless passion for excellence.”

Mr. Brewer has formed a magical collaboration and synergy of a village that has taken on the world to show that all children learn, love, and celebrate their educational experiences. He has created a highoctane, highachieving and nurturing educational environment,” said an official with the Virginia Association of Elementary School Principals, quoting from a letter nominating Brewer for the awardStudents say Principal Brewer is visionary, caring, and relentless and they know that he loves them.

It took clever planning to pull off the surprise assembly this morning, but Occoquan Elementary School Assistant Principal Bill Knight, Associate Superintendent Craig Gfeller, and a handful of others managed to do that. While several staff members kept Principal Brewer in his office chatting, students quietly left their classrooms and assembled in the cafeteria.

“Why are we talking?” Brewer thought to himself. “We’ve got work to do!” Then a call came over the public address system asking him to come to the cafeteria; again, puzzlement: “What is this for?” Brewer thought, “It’s too early for the goodbye celebration….we’ve got SOLs coming up!” Little did he know.

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