Reflections on a year of change

Farewell and thank you, Mr. Brown

Teachers and staff reflect on a year of growth and challenge.

Teachers and staff reflect on a year of growth and challenge.

Neveah Cakus, Staff writer

After a challenging year of serving as principal for the Armijo Royals, Mr. Charleston Brown is passing the baton to Mr. John McMorris. Many freshmen and sophomores had never set foot on the Armijo campus without having Principal Brown as the head of the school. He helped them and the rest of the returning students settle into high school and he was someone that students and staff could trust and admire.

“Principal Brown made a huge impression on this campus. He is approachable and you can talk to him, it doesn’t matter if you’re a student, teacher or staff member,” said Spanish teacher Mr. Michael Blum. “This was Mr. Brown’s first and only year here and I know he is upset for having to make the decision to leave. Principal Brown is someone I respect and has become a friend for life. He has taught me to be approachable and innovative. “

Art teacher Mr. Waddles said, “It meant a lot having a principal who is a person of color, so the school became more representative of the student body, staff and community. Principal Brown provided a front office that was open and personable. I have learned that he is passionate about helping students reach the goal of graduating from high school. His tenure here, though short, will have a lasting impact on Armijo.”

Mr. Tyler Losberger, an Armijo history teacher, recognized the changes that Principal Brown was making on the campus. He “inspired me to value school culture,” Mr. Losberger said. “He has made a positive impression on me and I enjoyed our conversation at prom. I got to learn about him and his values.” He hoped that Principal Brown would carry on this drive to his new position at Will C. Wood High School.

For math teacher Mr. Paul Meihaus, Principal Brown’s leadership was very positive. “Mr. Brown has been a solid support for teachers and has addressed our concerns. He has left a very powerful impression on teachers, staff and students,” he said. “He has impressed me with his hard work and dedication to the students and staff at Armijo. I have learned how hard work and dedication can bring great accomplishments in one’s work or profession. As he leaves this year I want him to know that his leadership presence will be missed. I am grateful for his dedication to making our school a success. “

It wasn’t just teachers of academics that were impressed with Principal Brown’s impact on the campus. “Mr. Brown has left an impression that won’t ever be forgotten, an everlasting one that I will truly always remember,” said physical education teacher Mr. Javier Zaragosa. “I have learned to always stay true to myself no matter what. The impression he has left me with is that anything you put your mind to you genuinely can achieve in anything that you want to accomplish in life. He will sincerely be missed here at AHS in every which way. It is a devastating loss that he is leaving AHS.”

“Mr. Brown has shown me that leadership can be effective while focusing on building relationships,” said Leadership teacher Mr. Casey Towner. “He has had a positive impact on my teaching experience in his time here. He had several good ideas that we will continue to build on moving forward. I have learned from Mr. Brown, that building relationships with students is the most effective way to communicate with them. If you truly get to know them and the problems they are facing, it makes it easier to face these problems together.” Mr. Towner also spoke out about Principal Brown’s future. “I would like Mr. Brown to know that I wish him the best moving forward with his career in education, as well as with his family. I appreciate his hard work and some of the pillars that he started to place here in our school.”

Whether teachers had worked at Armijo for over a decade or were new teachers, the impact of Principal Brown’s year as the leader was notable. “This is my first year at Armijo and I had a good experience with Mr. Brown,” said Ms. Tammy Ables, a paraeducator. “He has been very supportive when I have had issues on campus. One thing I have learned from Mr. Brown was to listen to both sides when there is conflict and not show favoritism. I will definitely miss Mr. Brown. As a new principal to Armijo I feel he built a strong bond with students and staff.”

Principal Brown shared his decision to leave with the campus in mid-May, and it was not an easy choice. “This school is special. I love the campus; I love the student body and the culture here. There is something truly special here. Cultivated, almost like a garden,” he said. “When it blossoms it’s going to be amazing. I am sad that I didn’t get to see that, but there is something special here.”

Principal Brown spoke words of encouragement to the students as he explained his choice. “The world pushes us into a corner as adults, you have to pay the bills and sometimes it makes us believe we have to choose our career over our family. So when you get the choice to put your family first you should jump for it.” Principal Brown is moving to Will C Wood so that he can be closer to his family on a day-to-day basis, but it is not easy for him to leave the Armijo campus.

Being the Armijo principal meant connecting to the students. For Principal Brown, there have been a lot of fist bumps, a lot of conversations and speaking to staff in the hallway. “It’s meant a lot just trying to see everything on campus again. I just want this campus to blossom to rekindle,” he said.

“With the logo changing from an Indian to a Royal lion, we were able to restore the pride in our school putting hope back into the campus. This is who we are. Restore the roar to restore our pride that the school once.”

Looking forward, Principal Brown also encouraged the staff, reminding them to “continuing to work as a team. It is the only way change will happen, if everyone is moving in the right direction. The new principal will be coming to a great school,” he said.