Educator Spotlight — Brian McNamee

Name: Brian McNamee

Current Role: Chief Operations Officer, Academy of Hope Adult Public Charter School

Length in Current Role: 7 years

Favorite thing about what I get to do everyday: Motivating me is knowing that my work supports a great mission. We serve adults seeking their high school credentials, and take a community centered approach to execute the work. By taking this approach, I get to know the students we serve. When seeing them thrive in our program, I know I’ve had a part in their success. Knowing this, I happily get out of bed each morning.

Spirit Animal: Dog comes to mind, probably more because I hope to adopt one soon. I guess to dive deeper, having the unconditional loyalty and love a dog brings is fantastic. I suppose we can use a little bit of that from one another.

What’s your superpower: Balancing, if you want to call it a superpower. I don’t think I do a whole lot better than most, but I do feel like I know how to react to situations fairly well. There is no one way to handle all situations. Balancing involves, knowing when to intervene vs. letting a person learn; listening vs. directing – things like that.

Best lesson learned from a mentor or someone I admire: “This too shall pass.” Early on I was taught that no matter how dire a situation may seem, you will get through it.

What I do to make lemonade out of lemons on my toughest days: See above. I keep in mind that it will get better. In dealing with the tough matter at hand, I find that its good to get it to a place that it is contained, walk away from it for a few hours or a day, and then come back to it. Its not avoidance, rather a commitment to address something with a fresh, clear mind.

What education equity means to me: Every person having equal access to education so they may improve their and their family’s life. In achieving education equity, we’d be addressing the many hurdles poverty creates in obtaining education.

My favorite thing to do to relax and rejuvenate: Lately it has been working around the house.

The practices/habits that help keep me grounded and maintain perspective when I’m feeling stressed, overworked, or unmotivated are:Light meditation and writing in a journal has long served me well. In the past year and a half, my organization has implemented a culture of mindfulness. Taking small breaks to check-in and breath have produced big rewards in managing stress.

Who I turn to for advice or guidance when I need career direction: My Mom and Dad first. They’ve had very different careers than me, but they’ve always helped me weave career and personal goals throughout life.

The advice I’d give to someone trying to find their career sweet spot: Trust your gut in determining if you’re in the right place, and make sure you’re motivated in the work you’re doing.  This will lead you to find your passion.

Learn more about Brian’s work at  and connect with him at