Matt Cunningham shares a beautiful tribute to Mrs. Locklear and helps us find a way to honor and celebrate Mrs. Locklear’s life.
Did you know that Mrs. Locklear started her career as a music teacher?
It’s true. Teaching music was Mrs. Locklear’s first calling into education. While maybe surprising, it makes perfect sense. Felecia Locklear became a principal...but she never stopped teaching music.
Like any great conductor, Mrs. Locklear led by example and action. While she had a strong voice of her own – with a calm, collected presentational style, offered up with a little Robeson County twang – Mrs. Locklear eschewed the spotlight, and let her students and staff sing.
For that reassuring and supportive leadership style, and for so many other reasons, Mrs. Locklear was loved and respected by her teachers and administrators. She supported them. She taught them. Perhaps most importantly, she allowed them to shine.
Mrs. Locklear knew that her orchestra could only be as good as her musicians. Her teachers had their own styles, their own voices, and their own instruments and talents. Mrs. Locklear enabled her staff bring their talents to the fore and play to their strengths, so they could excel within her composition, her framework, and her vision of Brooks.
The same was true of Brooks’ children, the notes in her song. Each sweet note was as important to Mrs. Locklear as the next. She was particularly excited to add almost a hundred new children, almost a hundred new voices, to that song this year.
Everything about Mrs. Locklear’s vision of Brooks was intended to help her students strengthen those voices – this is in large part why we have the Brooks tradition of student-led conferences, why Brooks students continuously work on the art of sharing their opinions in class seminars, and why projects are done not at home but at school, where the expression is 100% the voice of the student.
As parents, we took the role of a grateful audience. It was easy to see and hear the joyous performance of our teachers and students, together, in harmony. It was a performance in which every student, teacher and staff member, was crucial to the symphony.
It was so easy to become enrapt by the performers. You could almost miss Mrs. Locklear quietly conducting in the background. But, if you watched closely, you could see Mrs. Locklear’s steady hand setting the pace, guiding and encouraging the performers.
Mrs. Locklear brought our magnet program to Brooks early in her 18 years of leadership at our school. She brought together an incredible staff that shared her vision. She developed Brook’s fundamental educational approach, principles and policies. She led, she taught, she cajoled and she supported. Tirelessly. In essence, Ms. Locklear built the culture of Brooks.
So, back to the original point, finding a way to begin to honor and celebrate Mrs. Locklear’s life.
That’s easy …The next time you are in Brooks, stop, be still for a moment, and just listen. That sound you will hear - that hallway-filling, wall-rebounding, cacophonous performance of children laughing, playing and learning, teachers teaching, and staff members serving in so many different ways? That sound is the song of Brooks … and Mrs. Locklear wrote it for us all.
Celebrate the joy of that song, and the life that shaped it. Better yet, join in the performance yourself. At her memorial service, this was the request of her family shared with the congregation - support her beloved Brooks. Volunteer in your child’s classroom. Be a mystery reader. Visit for lunches. Donate to Backpack Buddies, the PTA, the Foundation. Encourage the teachers. Go to as many moving museums and events as you can. Chaperone a field trip or ten, if your schedule allows.
Become part of the joyous song of Brooks. Get involved. Do something, big or small. That is the way Mrs. Locklear led, and the most authentic way that you an honor her life and legacy.
Help us sing the song of Brooks this year – Mrs. Locklear’s song. We are certain that Mrs. Locklear will be listening, so help us sing loud, and clear, and strong.