This 2018-2019 school year, the Uni High community welcomed Rachael Brewer to the PE Department. A Tuscola native and Uni’s track and field coach in past years, as well as a storied cross-country athlete herself, Brewer previously served at the Regional Office of Education in Champaign, and oversaw a technology-purchasing program.
Last year, when an opening became available, Brewer says that “Mr. Bicknell kind of brought [the job opening] to my attention.” Prior searches to fill staff vacancies have been intricate, University-governed procedures with multiple candidates and meet-and-greets. However, the hiring process that Brewer underwent deviated from that standard.
“[The process] was a little different, because it’s a visiting position,” she says, concluding that it “it wasn’t as intense as what other teachers go through.”
“I met with Mr. Bicknell and Dr. Walkington.. multiple times, and that was it,” she said.
Yet surprisingly, despite filling the vacancy Rebecca Murphy [Merf] left, Brewer never met the legendary gym teacher through her application process.
“I’ve actually never met her which is kind of surprising… I’ve heard really great things though, Doug speaks very highly, [and] so do all of you,” she says..
Brewer has no qualms about filling in for such a storied role in the faculty, however. She comes from a school very similar to Uni, with “65 people in [her] graduating high school class.” As such, she also has a very different perception of Uni students than you may expect.
“You guys are all very unique– but so similar to a regular student and I feel like a lot of people have this idea that you guys are all… not normal,” Brewer says. “You are so similar to a normal high school student, you just may be a bit more advanced in some different areas.”
In addition, Brewer is enthused and ready to start teaching her respective PE classes, whether it be fitness or sports, as well as integrating the PLT4M app into class.
“I’m really excited to teach some of the sports units, she says, “also… some of the strength and conditioning units, as that is something I really enjoy doing myself… I do want to bring in some nutrition aspects to PE, maybe throw in some discussions as well.”
“There are some things I don’t like about [PLT4M] necessarily right away,” she says, noting that “it is hard to get all the way through a workout in one class period… so it’d be a little frustrating for me.”
Brewer hopes she’s a comforting presence for students to talk to, and wants to facilitate a open and comfortable atmosphere in her classes.
“I want you guys to enjoy yourselves but to also learn,” she says. “Just making sure you guys know I’m approachable, and you can talk to me if there’s something you’re not comfortable with.”