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 (11/26-12/2)
30 photos Launch gallery
1. Little Legend and Puddy 😍😍😍😍
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2. "You on point Phife?" "all the time,Tip". 💥 #bannedfromnormal
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3. Vegan! The Impossible burger at Crossroads
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4. Lawrence #BeforeandAfterEpisodes 1-4: 184lbs 13% body fatEpisode 8: 196lbs 8% body fat S/O @coachdaveboxing with the works outs and @kildareriordan with the nutrition
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5. Jus haaaanngin out
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6. Meanwhile back at home in Atlanta GA someone mad they not on the 🛳. 😳
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7. No limits... Photo cred: Chris Bridges @ludacris
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8. new new
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9. Apparently my 260lbs is too much for the actual vines in the Hawaiian jungles to hold me without breaking and me falling hundreds of feet. So for safety purposes, I'm forced to swing thru #Jumanjj on wires strong enough to hold 12 adult buffaloes and 1 adult Rock. #OnSet #Jumanji #IronicallyIEatBuffaloDailyForLunch #MoreManThanNatureKnowsWhatToDoWith
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10. hey ma! 🎎#wcw 💙
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11. Surprise visit to our factories!!! #GoodAmerican #USA
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13. Peachy Keen 🔥✨⚡️
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14. If this don't look thankful I don't know what does. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. #UltraBlessed #24kMagic #SweetPotatoFly
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15. Late nights @nbcmarlon with the writers... we in here!!!
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16. There goes my baaaaaaaaabbbbyyyyy #QueenKingMagic!!! We're up to something! Ira BIG!!! Stay out our buisness -
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17. You want to win every game you play but when you come home to these faces... who cares. #ILoveYouGirls best part of my day, everyday!
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18. Steady,steady..... full size jenga.. "I got this one "???? Or do I ?
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19. Cornrows kind of day 😉@dontaysavoy2 you convinced me and I love. ❤️️
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20. #BrotherlyLove #tbt
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22. #basel #TeamLOVE @kingcombs
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23. Just introduced a special screening of @directher 's groundbreaking (must see) documentary @13thfilm with my brother @themichaelealy | @unitedblackout #blackoutblackfriday
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24. Me & Vanessa Williams giving #DuckLips #Pose on the set of #DaytimeDivas @vh1 - Coming Soon to a tv near you. Lol. - My make up done by @makeupsurgeon
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25. This picture just makes me wanna praise the Lord, you hear me!!!!!! Yes Lord brotha #TEDDYCAMPBELL What a #man !!! You are everything right on this picture husband ......... #gorgeous #stylish #classy #strong #masculine #king #sexy #debonair #gentlemenstyle And that #bible in your hand just seals the deal for me (probably cause i know that, that is what helped you become just as amazing as you look😘). While my heart and mind experiences the goodness of God at #church on Sundays, my eyes experiences the goodness of Teddy😍. Amen somebody🙌🏽. "Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is within me bless his holy name" #myman #myhusband #goodman #blackman #dapperman #godlyman #goodfather #mybestfriend
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26. Yesterday was my mama's 53rd birthday!!!!! Got to celebrate with her all day. If this is what I have to look forward to I can't wait. Looking like a soft bucket a cocoa butter. Yaaaaaaaaaas! 😍😍😍 love you mommy!
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27. "Shout out to @PureAtlanta for getting the family right"....I'm loving this jogger. 😍😍
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28. This pic warms my heart ❤️ #myLogiebeans and aunt aunt umba @itowandabraxton 😘
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29. You will always be my baby😜. #HappyBirthdayReginae #mybaby18
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30. GC "Gods Child" Red on Red SweatSuit available now at www.MonicaApparel.com ... Take Your Crown wherever you go!! I'm pictured in a Medium... Go to the site now for other options ... cc: @trukernell
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