RISD’s Staci Low and education guru Gerry Brooks at Lake Highlands High

Follow educator Gerry Brooks on social media and you’ll find he’s wacky, irreverent and spit-out-your-sweet-tea funny. A million followers nationally, mostly teachers, like and share his online posts, so I’ll admit I was surprised when the self-described “principal, dad, husband, public speaker, fun maker and America’s next top model educator” made an appearance at Lake Highlands High to share his wit and wisdom with Richardson ISD’s newest teachers.

“Stay away from negative people,” Brooks joked. “If you talk to them their negativity will get all over you like white on rice. You don’t want that.”

Staci Low, Bowie Elementary’s principal, thought he was a hoot.

“He shared that teachers and principals should get on the same page, that we should communicate and compromise,” Low told me. “And he talked about the importance of mentors.”

“Find someone doing something better than you,” Brooks told the newbies, “and ask them how they do that.”

Brooks encouraged teachers to take team planning seriously and be ready with a smile.

“Be a participant, not a bystander,” he urged them. “Whatever happens at your school, be there and be invested.”

Much of Brooks’ advice is helpful even for folks working in other professions. This video shares his politically incorrect hand gestures for staff meetings that run overtime. (Just don’t show my publisher.)