In our educational leadership series, we’re introducing you to individuals who shape the landscape and school culture at our partner institutions. This week, meet Brandon Mollett, head of middle school at The Boys’ Latin School.
He’s sharing his unconventional path to educational leadership, Boys’ Latin’s philosophy on experiential learning, and why he’s so proud of the school’s new Innovation program.
Meet the Head of Middle School: Brandon Mollett, The Boys’ Latin School
You took a bit of a an unconventional path toward becoming an education leader, starting your career in sports journalism and becoming a coach at Boys’ Latin before teaching. How has that early career experience shaped your teaching philosophy?
As a young man, I always dreamed of being a writer. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to explore this dream. However, journalism was not my calling. I hope that all of our students dream big and explore their dreams while maintaining the capacity to evolve and reimagine their dreams as they grow into the men they will become.
You’re also a BL alum. How has the school changed since you were a student? Stayed the same?
I am very proud of being an alumnus of Boys’ Latin. This is a special place. My father and my brother are also alumni. The school remains centered on adult mentors and teachers fostering enduring personal relationships. These relationships allow each student to feel valued as a person and provides him the opportunity to strive for his personal best. Our teachers know our young men and can guide them toward their own unique and individual potential.
Experiential learning is a cornerstone of the BL curriculum. What does that look like in the classroom?
Our talented and dedicated teachers take a student-centered approach to their lessons and content. At the center of this student-centered approach is providing an environment in which students can directly interact with the material. Whether it is an English classroom that’s transformed into a desert island when students are learning about Lord of the Flies or a math classroom in which students are standing at the board explaining their solution, our students feel that school is about them and for them. The teachers are partners in student learning.
In your opinion, what is the value of a single sex education?
The value is that we have an opportunity to target a single audience with our instruction and programs. While all boys are different and we value each boy’s uniqueness, there are some consistencies which allow us to be much more efficient and effective in our instruction.
Describe your leadership style. How does that impact the educators, students and parents that you work with at BL?
I am involved and active. I am here for the students and for the teachers. Being present and available connects me to the students and to the faculty. I love coaching and teaching and still coach 6th grade flag football as well as teach Latin 1. We are a school that is focused on relationships and community, so knowing the boys and what they experience in a given day is key.
What’s the one accomplishment you’ve had at BL that you’re most proud of?
We recently developed an Innovation program which has expanded our students’ learning opportunities. The program is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) program with a wealth of electives for our boys. The students love the opportunity to explore, create and collaborate while learning new skills. We offer a wide variety of Innovation classes, which means that there is something for each student to get excited about. Whether it is stop-motion animation, 3-D printing, robotics or a capella singing, the program opens avenues for student learning that extend beyond the core curriculum.
What is the one thing you think surprises parents about BL?
The boys here are genuinely enthusiastic about school. People often associate middle school as time of disenchantment for some students. The boys are hitting their early teen years and school is not always a priority. Certainly middle school can be tough. We ask our students to work hard and strive for their best. They are required to have ever more increasing personal responsibility. However, we provide an environment in which students can meet these challenges knowing that they have the care and support of dedicated teachers.
If you could assign one book to all middle schoolers to read, what would it be? Why?
We teach “The Outsiders” to our seventh grade boys. I feel that this novel touches on topics that open our students’ eyes to the complexities of the world around them while addressing the difficulties of friendship. Even though it was first published in 1967, the challenging themes presented in this book remain accessible to middle schoolers of today.
Favorite place in Baltimore to visit with your wife and daughter? (And why — of course!)
This is a tough question. To be honest, I crowd-sourced this one (meaning I asked my wife and daughter). I got a lot of different answers. We love hiking and spending time outside together. We love going to an Orioles game. I have a picture in our living room of the three of us picnicking at Sherwood Gardens with the tulips in full bloom in the spring. Spring is my favorite time of year in Baltimore.
This article is part of our school partner profile series. To learn more about The Boys’ Latin School of Maryland, visit their profile in our independent school directory. Photos by Laura Black.