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Fred Steven Brill
Fred Brill began considering a career in education after coaching a middle school gymnastics team and then working as an outdoor education summer counselor of emotionally disturbed kids. "I was always able to connect with young people—especially those who had the most difficulty fitting in," Fred recalls. "As an English major, I was passionate about reading and writing, and eventually I made the obvious connection, and I decided I would give the teaching thing a try. I was hooked after being plopped in front of my first class."
After earning a BA in education from the University of Michigan, Fred went on to receive a master's degree in secondary education from San Francisco State University and an EdD in policy, organization, measurement, and evaluation from UC–Berkeley.
He is currently the executive officer (area superintendent) of the Middle School Network in Oakland Unified School District.
He has also served as a middle school principal, a high school and continuation high school English teacher, and taught secondary students and adults in the former Czechoslovakia while on a Fulbright Teacher Exchange. He also served as an elementary school educator of severely emotionally disturbed students.
"I love getting students to see the relevance in the work they are doing," Fred explains. "I love exposing them to new ideas and concepts and ways of acquiring skills and knowledge." Fred says that he enjoys working with groups of students and likes to encourage them to take charge of their own learning and understand the roles they are playing in different groups and in their own learning.
When it comes to professional development, Fred has the same approach with adults as he does with children. "I love providing new frameworks in which practitioners might reconceptualize their practice. I like providing the space, the structures, and supports so that individuals will take the necessary time to reflect and deeply consider their goals, intentions, theories, and outcomes."
Fred says that as he began to dive deeply into the narratives in his book, Leading and Learning, he began to make sense of his own practice as a school leader. "School leaders seem to relish the opportunity to engage in reflective storytelling and collaborative inquiry," Fred explains. "I felt that new leaders could benefit from a map, a guidebook, a collection of stories that illustrate the what and how of school leadership."