Q & A: Ten Minutes with Brian Hoover
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While Disney is the happiest place on Earth, Robinson comes in a close second thanks to Brian Hoover, who tries to make every day magical for his students. I had the pleasure of talking to him the other day about everything from job selection to people watching at theme parks.
Q: So far, how has the transition from AP of Student Affairs to IB Coordinator been?
A: Really great. [Previous IB Coordinator] Mr. Brady was really good about mentoring me and kinda showing me the ropes about IB. He included me in a lot of things over the past few years while he was the coordinator, so the transition was probably as seamless as it could be. Ms. George has been a real big help over the summer as well as the parents. I’m really pleased with how it’s gone so far. It was a little bit of a shift, but I was lucky in that, in Student Affairs, we do get to work with both sides. I know a lot of the students in IB by face and right now I’m kinda putting faces with names and parents with students. I wouldn’t say [this role] is any easier or any harder, it’s just different.
Q: What exactly does the role of “IB Coordinator” entail?
A: Over the summer, it’s basically making the master schedule, letting the teachers know when they’re going to be teaching what classes, and then making sure all the students’ schedules are set. So one by one, we go through every IB schedule and make sure that, if all possible, they got the elective that they chose and their HLs (Higher Level classes) and SLs (Standard Level classes) are right. Now, we’re at the point of the year where we have to start thinking about assessments: the EE (Extended Essay), the IAs (Internal Assessments), and even ordering the IB and AP exams for the spring.
Q: You said that Mr. Brady was kind of grooming you. Did you find that he was a helpful mentor?
A: Yes. The district has a program called the Principals’ Pipeline which helps administrators to advance in their careers. When you become an Assistant Principal for Student Affairs, you’re put into an AP induction program and you’re assigned a district mentor. Most of the time, it’s someone who’s at a different school so that way, if you want some advice on a problem you’re having with a colleague or maybe you want a different perspective, you can go to that person. I was lucky in that it just kinda worked out that Mr. Brady was my assigned person so when he would do something IB curriculum related, he would call me upstairs. Just knowing him for the past few years, it’s easy. If I’m confused or don’t know exactly what the next step is, it’s easy to pick up the phone or shoot him a text.
Q: What’s something interesting that students might be surprised to learn about you?
A: I am a big Disney fan; I go to Disney quite often. Growing up, my parents were annual pass holders, so that was kind of the thing we did growing up and we still do that. My sister and I go a lot and my parents try to go. So I’m a big Disney fan, [going to the parks] just to people watch, ride some rides, and enjoy someplace different.
Q: What is it that draws you to the Disney parks?
A: An escape. So when you go, even if you’re not interested in riding rides, it’s a totally different place. You see people in a different light. They’re in a totally different mindset. It’s hard to think about work and problems back in Tampa when you’re somewhere else.
Q: What compelled you to go into education?
A: When I went away to college, I had a lot of big ideas. I was going to be a doctor because that’s what my parents told me I should do. And then I was going to be a lawyer… I taught Social Studies government, so that was kind of my interest. While I was in college, I interned at the state attorney’s office downtown and at the same time, I was working at a high school after school program. It dawned on me [one day] when I was carrying some papers for Human Resources when I was at the State Attorney’s, and I saw what a starting State Assistant Attorney makes and I knew what a teacher made and I thought, “You know what? It’s not that different.” And I really enjoy working with kids more, so I made the decision to just ignore what my family said and go into education. It’s been a very good decision… I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Q: What advice do you have for students in planning for their futures?
A: For students that are looking post-secondary, whatever that decision may be… it may sound corny, but you’ve got to do what you really want in life. That goes back to what I mentioned earlier with my path. A lot of times, we have pressure from your parents and you have their expectations, but at the end of the day, you have to be happy with what you do and you have to go home and go to bed, happy with what you did that day. Just follow your dreams… it doesn’t get any cornier than that.
It works with the Disney too!
There you go! “If you can dream it, you can do it.”