Special to the Wave
Gerry Brooks is an elementary school principal turned YouTube celebrity who entertains K-12 teachers, administrators, and parents across the country. On Saturday, May 11th, he brought his Celebrate Educators Conference to Heber. The crowd was at near capacity to fill the auditorium. Participants traveled from Vernal, Tooele, Idaho, and all many places in between. Many groups wore their school T-shirts, entire grade levels came, and one group that was noticed and created their own version of a T-shirt that has one of his sayings on it. The attendees were teachers, administrators, custodians, Pare-educators, and “others”. Others are spouses, parents, and kids who often have to listen to end of the stories or don’t “get” what people working in the education field deal with. One other, who is the husband of a Davis County school principal, said he really enjoyed the presentation as well as the drive to Heber.
During the presentation, Mr. Brooks explained how the videos, now viewed in the millions, got started. In the morning, he would arrive at school and walk the halls (because that is when it is quiet and he could get the day started). He made some fun videos to send to his staff, to lighten the mood and encourage them. Eventually, they got shared and now seen by people everywhere.
The persona on the videos, has an accent, and questions much about the education world and the people who work in it in a silly way. But the Gerry Brooks who showed up on stage, was very inspirational and gave many specific examples of individual people can contribute to changing school culture and climate in the buildings they work in. He interspersed each of the topics with one of his videos, with the reaction like it was the first time they had been viewed by the audience. Loud applause and laughing was the response for each one.
Mr. Brooks has a newly released book, “Go See the Principal- True Tales from the Trenches”. People were excited to buy a signed copy and on Monday, many people will be wearing shirts they bought with his slogans on them, which will further his message. He stated several times, his appreciation for all members of the education community- the bus driver, who is often the first point of contact of the day, and is able to notice something and tell the office or a teacher, the secretary- who manages to keep all the kids and their needs organized, the custodians who go out of their way to find ways to be helpful, counselors, and the school nurse. He has an extreme respect for those that teach kindergarten. If you only have time to view one or two videos, search for “carpet time” or “reading lesson” two that back up the skills this age level has.