Recently appointed Education Department director Santarvis Brown believes education makes anything possible. To ensure Tribal students benefit from that fundamental belief, he plans to implement programs to help students identify, define and achieve their goals.
“The goal is to increase graduation and program completion rate by ensuring our students receive the necessary tools to be successful, such as educational support services,” said Brown, a former Miami-Dade County public schools administrator with 11 years of experience. “Effective advisement is the most important thing.”
Education advisers will gauge students’ values, interests, skills and personalities. With that information, students can better understand what direction works for them, and advisers can help students formulate plans and target schools that match their interests.
“If we put them in places where they won’t be successful, they will become discouraged,” Brown said.
Brown hopes to achieve a greater level of parental involvement as well. He wants to help parents realize the importance of their role in their child’s educational journey. The department is currently developing programs for parents.
“We plan to improve the relationship between the department and the parents so we can work together,” he said. “We want parents to understand we are all on the same team.”
Brown has a Bachelor of Arts from Florida Memorial University, a Master of Arts in education from Regent University, a doctorate in religion from Liberty University and a doctorate in philosophy from Emerson Institute.
He formerly managed the tutoring program for the Seminole Tribe. He was also an administrator in the office of Exceptional Student Education for Miami-Dade public schools, the principal at North Dade Middle School and a middle school technology teacher.
His mentor and inspiration, the late Robert Ingram, former mayor of Opa-Locka and Miami-Dade school board member, had a profound impact on Brown. Ingram worked to help children reach their potential and taught them nothing was impossible, a philosophy Brown follows.
“My advice is to dream the impossible dream and make it your reality,” Brown said. “Set a goal and put the pieces together to get to the end result. They need to be committed enough to the end result and realize they may have some detours in the plan because life will do that to you.”