After 14 years as principal of Mt. Juliet High School, Mel Brown will retire at the end of the school year.
Brown has taught at many schools over the years, but it is his dedication to the students of Mt. Juliet that made attending the school something to be proud of.
This does not apply only to MJHS. Brown made an impact at each school he taught. McGavock High School in Nashville even has a field named for him after he coached baseball and taught at the school.
Brown is not leaving because he doesn’t enjoy what he does. He is retiring to spend more time with his family and loved ones, especially his wife of 53 years, Carroll.
“I love her more now than I did when we were married,” he said. “She’s really supported my life and hopefully I have hers.”
He doesn’t have definite plans after he retires but said he would like to travel more.
“I figure the Lord will tell me what he wants me to do,” said Brown. “I’m sure he’s still working on me.”
Brown also wants to enjoy the different activities his grandchildren participate in. He said his youngest granddaughter asked why he missed her sister’s program and that it was an “ah-ha” moment.
Because his job is demanding on time, he does not want to miss out on more opportunities with family. He and his wife are even looking forward to welcoming their first great-grandchild this summer.
Although he is retiring, Brown has enjoyed teaching and leading the students of Mt. Juliet.
“The joy I’ve had, I hope everyone has [in their career],” he said. “If you enjoy it, you’ve got a chance of doing well. If you’re miserable, you’d better get out in a hurry because it will kill you.”
Brown said much of the success of MJHS comes from the great faculty, staff and teachers. He is thankful for the continued support from the director of schools, board of education and the community.
According to Brown, the faculty and staff are the heart of the school and that he cannot brag on them enough. He said in their tough job, they are what keeps the school going.
On Monday night, Brown was also awarded the 2018 Administrator of the Year by the Tennessee High School Press Association. However, he believes the award is more about the school than it is about himself.
Brown is proud of all the accomplishments of MJHS and how the school has grown over the years. According to Brown, the school currently has 23 AP courses, a great deal more than when he started. In 2011, the school was chosen as the No. 1 school in Tennessee and has continued to grow since.
“You’re encouraged by [the accomplishments],” he said. “Those are the things you want people to talk about.”
MJHS also has 65 various activities for students to participate in, from athletics to orchestra to anime clubs.
“I’m real proud of the way all of it has grown and developed,” said Brown.
Brown was also proud that 95 percent of students have been going to post-secondary education, with $27 million in scholarships awarded last year to the senior class.
He greatly believes that the growth of the school is not about himself but about the students.
As for the new principal, Brown hopes that they will experience a smooth transition and continue the growth the school has experienced under Brown’s care.
“Mt. Juliet High School has been having school since 1854,” he said. “They’ll be having school after I’m gone.”
Throughout his time at MJHS, Bear Pride has been a constant source of school pride and attitude. To Brown, the phrase means leadership.
“I want you to have the confidence to step up when you have a thought, and express the point you’re trying to make, but also be respectful, be honest and be responsible” he said.
As for his time at Mt. Juliet High School, Brown said he has enjoyed every day.
“I’ve had a ball.”
“It’s pretty rare to have a principal on-staff with more than a half a century of institutional knowledge, but that’s how long Mel Brown has been in education,” said Donna Wright, director of Wilson County Schools. “We’re blessed to have had him in Wilson County since 2004. The community loves him. His students love him. Naturally, we knew he had to retire at some point, but it’s still going to leave a tremendous void. How do you replace someone like Mel? You can’t!”