#BeYourOwnIcon : Brandy Young

Brandy Young on AmericanSunglass.com

We’ve seen the posts on Facebook and Instagram of proud parents’ sharing images of their children’s first day back to school.

In today’s age, it’s the sign that September has arrived and school is back in session. Over the next 10 months, those parents will trust one person to educate their kids about the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic: their teachers. But teachers are much more than that. We all hope they go above and beyond their basic job responsibilities and look to inspire their students while providing them with the tools to one day become contributing members of society.

We recently connected with one such teacher who is doing just that at Godley Elementary School in North Texas. Her name is Brandy Young and she’s a 29-year-old second grade teacher who is celebrating her eighth year as a molder of young minds.

She recently made the news when a mom shared on Facebook a letter that Young had given to parents at Meet the Teacher Night in the middle of August. It informed them of a new policy she had put in place to the delight of the 42 students she is teaching this year: there would be no homework for the entire school year.

It may seem like a small, minor choice, but in today’s public schools where standardized tests often are used as an indicator of success, eliminating homework could seem contradictory to those goals. And that may be part of the reason Young and her no homework policy went viral and was publicized by such media outlets as the Washington Post, USA Today and NPR.

When asked why she eliminated homework this year, Young told us, that “traditions can be great, but it’s always good to periodically step back and ask, ‘Why are we doing this?’ And if there is no good answer or benefit to what you’re doing, then someone has to voice that.”

Change and Innovation

And so Young became a voice for change. And she is an example of what a teacher can be when she embraces innovation in the classroom.

“We all came into the classroom because we love kids,” Young said. “Aren’t we all here to see kids succeed... Success on a standardized test isn’t my norm for success. Innovation should be a part of the everyday experience for every child. We aren’t turning out little machines. These are tiny human beings we are preparing for the 21st century.”

And that’s why Young’s letter calls upon parents to contribute to their child’s education. “I ask that you spend your evenings doing things that are proven to correlate with student success,” she wrote. “Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”

Young’s letter and her ensuing fame is a refreshing reminder that teachers who take chances should be celebrated. It’s also a reminder that they are only part of the equation. We all – parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings and friends – play a vital role in the success of the next generation.

That’s something Young understands as embarks on a new school year. “They’re excited to spend more time just being kids this year,” she said of her students. “Work stress should not exist for a seven-year-old. They’re excited to be a part of this movement.”

Here’s wishing all teachers a successful year. And here’s hoping that others in the field of education embrace the type of change, innovation and experimentation that Young has.

If you’re looking for a sunglass brand that embodies those qualities, then consider the stylish, but inventive Miu Miu. We profiled the secret behind the company’s success, Miuccia Prada, earlier this year.

Words of an Icon: “My end goal is to make life better for as many kids as possible and I believe the social media frenzy will carry over into local conversations at all levels, from the dinner table to the conference room.” – Brandy Young