Each year since 2013, the Tinsley Scholarship Board has honored members of our public school community who make special contributions to youth, in positions that aren't usually recognized for doing so. We give the award to the person or people who have gone over and above their official job description in making a difference in our young people's lives, and who demonstrate some of Grace Tinsley's characteristics.
Phillip Brown is an everyday unsung hero. He is not only a retired Marine but also a retired Charlottesville City Police officer. Mr. Brown's career has been a life of serving others, and he continues to do so well into what he refers to as his retirement gig.
His "official" job is overseeing building safety and security at LMA as well as conducting safety inspections each year for all of the city schools. Even though building safety and security are his primary responsibilities, they are by no means the only things he does for the students and staff at LMA. Mr. Brown, on any given day, mentors students and motivates staff.
One teacher had this to say about Mr. Brown, "He's always there with a positive attitude to support students and staff. He thinks deeply about what we're doing and how we do it. He tries hard to understand where our students are coming from and is always sympathetic to teachers when we are having a hard go of it. He's like the father we all wish we had and deserve." One student recalled a time they were discouraged about the group home they were living in and talked about dropping out of school. The student recalled that Mr. Brown knew them well enough to remind them about their goals (which he had taken the time to listen to) and to use that to keep them motivated and focused. Many of our students have designated him their "go-to" person when they need to reregulate their behavior. His calm and caring demeanor make him a trusting adult to talk to for both students and staff. If you have had a tough day, he always takes the time to pop his head in and make sure everything is okay before he leaves for the day, and he always knows precisely what to say to put a smile on your face.
Mr. Brown has earned the secondary title of Spirit Coordinator because he is always doing the little things to keep up our morale. He brings in cakes to celebrate staff birthdays; he motivates staff members to reach their goals by providing incentives. He loves to organize a festive spirit week and awards certificates and shirts to the staff members who show their LMA pride! What makes Mr. Brown so worthy of this award is his willingness to continue to learn and grow professionally to meet the needs of our students. It would be easy to come to work and do a job, but that is not Mr. Brown's style. Mr. Brown wants to be the best version of himself, so he can do what he needs to make a meaningful difference in the lives of the students and staff. He does this by participating in our professional learning opportunities on topics like social-emotional learning and being trauma-informed. Congratulations to Phillip Brown for being the 2020 Grace Tinsley Unsung Hero!
Roynetta "Netta" Jackson
Nurse, Buford Middle School
Crossing Guard, Buford Middle School
Intervention Associate, Charlottesville High School
Instructional Assistant, Buford Middle School
Teacher's Aide, Charlottesville High School
Registrar and Secretary, Buford Middle School
Instructional assistant, Buford Middle School
Head Nurse, Charlottesville High School
School Secretary, Buford Middle School
Teaching Assistant, Buford Middle School
Lead Custodian, Buford Middle School