Gemar Mills’ resume reads like someone who is much older. At 22 years old, he was already a high school math teacher at Newark’s Malcolm X Shabazz High School, eventually creating a 70 percent standardized test pass rate; by 25, he was the school’s department chair of Mathematics. Within a year of acquiring the position, Mills improved the math department’s functioning from 17 percent to 26 percent.
With his rapid progression, Mills was able to become the school’s principal at 29, in the 2011-12 school year.
But he had his work cut out for him.
During the 2010-11 school year, students pulled the fire alarm 119 times, many academic rankings placed the school near the bottom, and only 19 percent of students were proficient in math, according to High School Proficiency Assessment testing.
Even the teachers had, had enough: only 75 percent of educators showed up to class on a daily basis. By school year’s end, only 20 students made honor roll; enrollment fell to 810 students, down from 1,200 two years prior.
Mills began turning things around by implementing a no-nonsense disciplinary plan.
A dress code went in to effect, banning items such as leggings and cargo shorts; students were greeted by a metal detector; and a 20-minute convocation welcomed students back for the new year, addressing issues such as poor test scores and shootings.
And the results have been immediate: By the 2011-12 year, Shabazz’s overall language arts proficiency rose from 48 percent to 61 percent and math proficiency rose from 19 percent to 27 percent.
“Mills is great,” Duane Grant, a parent whose daughter attends Shabazz, told the NJ Star Ledger. “He’s definitely turned it around. He deserves all the accolades. I feel safe now sending her here.”
The 30-year old also placed more emphasis on sports to help steer students away from negative influences. As a former defensive line for Montclair State University, he has placed football mottos throughout the school, including a variant on Under Armour’s “We Must Protect This House!” slogan. Students also read other slogans, such as “We Must Protect The Brand!” and “If You Are Not A Bulldog, Then You Are Dog Food!” that are designed to foster a sense of community among the youth.
Asked by Black Blue Dog what his ultimate goal as principal is, Mills says he just wants to be remembered:
“My ultimate goal is to build a legacy. When I die that my name will live on. The things that I’ve done for my culture, for my people — it’ll live on. Decisions will be made based on things that I’ve done to empower my generation and generations to come. “
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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