By Kate Lee,
Principal William Brown wants to be the most connected guy around town, one friend request and one follower at a time.
The new Davis High is reaching out to local high school students and other Davis community members through Facebook and Instagram. His posts are keeping his friends and followers up to speed on all the different events and activities around school, from water polo games to rallies to Friendship Day.
Dressed in a polo shirt and slacks, Brown is relaxed and friendly in an office decorated with his daughter’s doodles and with Blue Devil pride. But Brown becomes impassioned when it comes to his vision for DHS. He already sees DHS as “one of the great American high schools,” but, in a determined voice, he explains that he thinks that it can be more.
“It can be the great American high school, a model program, if everyone is connected. I believe that to reach our full potential as a school, we all have to be together and what’s an easier way to get people together than on social media? It’s where people are; it’s where to find folks,” Brown said.
Sophomore Makaila Stritzel said she started following his Instagram for pictures of her volleyball games.
“I think it’s great [he’s using social media to reach out to students] because it’s a unique way for the students to interact with the principal. It makes me feel like he reaches out to us when he wants to us to be on his Instagram because he’s making an effort to get to know us and see what we do outside of class,” Stritzel said.
Parent and PTA President Sally Albertson also follows Brown’s Instagram, and is Facebook friends with him.
“I added Brown to see what he is seeing, and as a way to connect to the students of DHS and the various DHS activities and clubs. I have seen what I would call an overview of students and their clubs, activities, and sports—which I wouldn’t otherwise have time to see for myself,” Albertson said.
Junior Bismah Siddiqi usually ends up looking at his Facebook posts whenever she finds them on her newsfeed.
“It’s kind of interesting, since a lot of the time he posts things related to students or people I know,” Siddiqi said.
Sophomore Ray Young followed Brown’s Instagram account because he heard some of his other friends had.
“[Brown’s use of social networking] is good because it can help him reach out to students he doesn’t usually talk to or get to know in person. He followed me back, which is fine for me, because I don’t really post anything I’m worried about him seeing,” Young said.
However, Brown is not trying to patrol social media for misbehaving students.
“It’s not about ‘catching’ students or watching their behavior online, just sharing info back and forth. It’s about connections. The more connections, the more success as a principal,” Brown said.
Brown is clearly a little ahead of the curve with his usage of Facebook and Instagram. Kim Wallace, the director of technology for DJUSD, said that the District Technology Advisory Committee (DTAC) doesn’t have any guidelines for employee use of social media yet, but the DTAC is currently working on guidelines, and will be discussing this topic in the next few months.
Principal Brown welcomes any students, parents and community members to join him on Instagram @dshsprincipal and on Facebook at Dshs Principal Brown.