Brian Reedy follows faith, passion |

Brian Reedy follows faith, passion

by Teri Vance, Appeal Staff Writer

Brian Reedy didn’t always plan to be a teacher. There was a time he didn’t think he would turn out to be anything at all.

Frequently in trouble with teachers and administrators, Reedy graduated from high school with a “D” average. At 17, his parents kicked him out of the house.

A year later, he had a police record and was living homeless in the back of a car.

Then he decided to change his life and joined the Air Force when he was 19.

“I just pulled myself up by the bootstraps,” said Reedy, now 42.

After four years in the service, he spent the next four years putting himself through college at Cal State University, Fullerton, by working as a waiter and other odd jobs.

In college, he discovered he suffered from dyslexia and attention deficit disorder. Realizing the source of his learning disability empowered him to move beyond it.

He graduated with a degree in communications and went back to get his master’s degree in teaching. After graduating from high school with a 1.7 grade-point average, he completed his master’s with a 3.9 average.

“Once I graduated from college, I got an awesome job at Northrop Corp. making a lot of money,” he said.

And he began the work to repair his relationship with his family.

“I realized that what they did they did out of love,” he said. “They had this kid who they couldn’t handle and who just had to figure out life. My family didn’t have to accept me, I just had to see their acceptance.

“My parents are the two greatest people in the world. My dad is my rock and my mom is my heart.”

Although there were plenty of negative influences in his life — including a teacher who slapped him and called him lazy and another who said he was stupid — Reedy credits his success to overwhelmingly supportive influences.

One in particular was his high school drama teacher who he still writes to.

“She was the one who taught me it was OK to be me,” he said. “I wanted to be her, to help kids be comfortable in their own skin.”

Reedy began volunteering to work with kids after school and realized he had a passion for working with teens. But he had established a successful business in the Silicon Valley and teaching would mean a significant pay cut.

But he followed his heart and hasn’t regretted it.

“You see the kids make it or they come back one or two years later, it’s worth more than any pay check,” he said. “I think the kids I really want to be here for are the ones that are the toughest to be here for.”

He taught drama and English for three years in Montana then came to Carson City four years ago. He took over the media and video production program, which has blossomed into a full television studio with national support.

In addition the success of his program — which he credits to high school staff and administrators — he has found success as a teacher.

“I tell my kids, ‘I’ve been at the bottom and at the top, I can help you get there. I know what it takes,'” he said.

And he has found success as a person.

“I’m amazed that I’m here,” he said. “Faith in God has undoubtedly got me through every adversity I’ve had to face. In every adversity, there was somebody to turn it into a blessing.”

And he’s created his own motto: “Adversity can make you bitter or it can make you better. I choose better over bitter.”