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How Can We Lead More Effectively? Exclusive Interview With Dr Santarvis Brown

Brainz Magazine Exclusive Interview


Dr Santarvis Brown has spent 15+ years serving as a leader, innovator, and changemaker in education showcasing in-depth insight as an administrator, educator, and program director. A noted speaker, researcher, and full professor, he has lent his speaking talent to many community and educational forums, serving as a keynote speaker. He has also penned several publications tackling issues in civic service, faith, leadership, and education.

Santarvis Brown

You have a long list of titles, including Leader, Innovator, changemaker in education, educator, program director and a full professor. Can you tell us more about your work and how you ended up where you are today?

In its purest form, my work and passion are transforming people’s lives through education. I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher, but I will admit that even I am in awe of the journey I have had thus far. I can honestly say that I have probably touched the lives of hundreds of students ranging from kindergarten to graduate students, and I am not tired yet. The greatest joy for me is when I run into former students, and I can see the impact and imprint on their lives. It is a bonus when I see them with their children, and they tell their children, he was my teacher.

I have been blessed to see former students become K-12 teachers and administrators, and in the case of higher education, they have become professors.

The journey began for me officially back in 2003, when I walked into my first middle school classroom. I learned on that first day, I found what I was supposed to be doing. I also learned, that in my role as a teacher, I would sometimes be a counsellor, parent, friend, big brother, and uncle. Since walking into the middle school classroom, I have served as a principal, professor, and associate provost.

Have you encountered any major challenges during your journey and how have these affected you?

Like everyone, I have encountered challenges during my journey. The challenges have made me stronger helped me understand the power we all have within us. The main challenge for me has been things not happening on my timetable. This has taught me patience, which is a must because things don’t always go as we plan. The challenges in my life have taught me to understand the power of flexibility. I now look at each day as a closer step to the end goal, realizing that things will happen and occur but as they happen and occur, I am happening and occurring too. One of my favourite quotes from Dr Seuss is “I am sorry to say so but sadly it is true, that bang-ups and hang-ups can happen to you. And when things start happening don’t worry, don’t stew you will start happening too.”

What is the difference between being an Authentic Leader VS. Synthetic Leader?

A Synthetic Leader is driven by ambition and ego. An Authentic Leader is human. The synthetic leader tries to paint a picture that everything is great, and in many cases like they have no flaws. Another important distinction is the synthetic leader will actively seek to recognize the faults in others. Authentic leaders recognize their faults before the faults of others through self-awareness. They also recognize everyone’s contribution, ideas, and skills in achieving the big picture, and not just their own. Finally, an authentic leader takes time to not only influence, but impact and imprint.

Is there something special that keeps you motivated?

For me, my faith is the main thing that keeps me motivated. I understood early that my life and the happenings of it are not under my control. My faith allows me to go through the day knowing that I have someone looking out for me and looking over me. Even when things don’t go according to my plans (though they go according to His plans), my faith reminds me that it all works together for my good.

The last two years have really tested everyone that works as an educator, speaker etc. We have had to change our way of teaching and find new solutions. How do you think this has affected your work? Has it had any positive impact?

Yes, you are correct, education has changed over the last two years. It showed us that we could do education in a different way. I am accustomed to teaching virtually, so for me, it was invigorating as it allowed me to be out of the box and innovative in my teaching. It had a positive and negative impact. It was positive because it allowed for innovation and creativity in getting the information across to the students. It had a negative effect because it allowed us to see that the digital divide gap was still very much a thing, and we must work together to bridge it.

So, what’s the next big goal or project for Santarvis and how can someone get in contact with you?

My continual goal is to keep myself in spaces where I can continue to impact people and bring about positive change and good. I can be contacted by email at

For more info, follow Santarvis on Instagram and visit his website!



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