Dominion High School teachers made known their support for Principal John Brewer this morning during a demonstration in front of the school in Sterling.
About two dozen school staff members gathered in front of the school dressed in black—the school color—adorned bike helmets, and waved signs penned with pleas to reinstate Brewer as the school’s principal. The bike helmets were a shout out to Brewer, who often rode his bike.
The demonstration was in response to a recommendation by Superintendent Eric Williams to terminate Brewer. He’s been principal at Dominion since 2003 and, in 2010, was named the county’s Principal of the Year. Brewer has been on leave for more than a month.
“We don’t think there’s any justification to take Dr. Brewer away from Titan Territory,” Denise Holmberg, a speech pathologist at Dominion, said this morning. “He’s an amazing leader. The students need him back. We need him back. The school would not be anything what it is without him.
School system administrators have declined to specify why Brewer is on leave, but the move came as Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation of Brian Damron, who served as Dominion’s band director from July 2012 to January 2015 under the leadership of Brewer.
The Sheriff’s Office’s investigation was prompted by reports from a 15-year-old student in Jacksonville, FL, that Damron had made sexual advances toward him at a school there. Duval County Public Schools in Florida hired Damron last year after he abruptly resigned from Loudoun County Public Schools. The Sheriff’s Office investigation is ongoing and is looking into whether any criminal activity took place in Loudoun, according to Sheriff’s Office Public Information Office Kraig Troxell.
School records show that Brewer wrote a letter of recommendations that Damron submitted to Duval County Public Schools, as part of his application. LCPS Music Supervisor Michael Pierson also wrote a letter of recommendation on Damron’s behalf, but has not been placed on leave, according to the school system’s Public Information Officer Wayde Byard.
Bill Raye, former principal at Horizon Elementary School, has been appointed as Dominion’s interim principal.
Dominion Learning Specialist Leslie Chandler, who’s worked with Brewer for three years, called the principal the foundation of the Titan community. “We need him now more than ever to be here for the students, the staff and the community members.”
A GoFundMe page was launched Thursday to raise money for Brewer’s legal defense. The site says, “Dr. Brewer intends to vigorously defend his position, and has retained counsel to represent him.”
A petition at Change.org in support of the principal is approaching 2,000 signatures.