Veteran Teacher, Taylor Connects With Students Through Journalism


Trinity Glandon

Journalism adviser Brian Taylor explains the do’s and dont’s of preview writing with his beginning digital communications students.

Grace Hannum, Managing Editor

  Brian Taylor, arguably one of the busiest teachers on campus, starting off his day dodging glitter and unicorns, from his two daughters. Then assuming his position as school dad.

  On top of being the Career and Technical Education department chair, Taylor teaches intro tv production, intro digital communications, Honors Geometry, and advises the three student media productions on campus. His involvement in student media began with his love for baseball and basketball.  

  “I always had a huge interest in sports, I was talented enough to make [the varsity baseball] team in high school, but that was pretty much where my talent was gonna take me,” Taylor said. “So in effort to find a way to still be involved in sports, journalism was an avenue where I could be embedded in all the action but not necessarily play.”

  Taylor went to Cal State University, Fullerton where he was a baseball beat writer for the campus newspaper, “The Daily Titan.” Graduating with a degree in communications Taylor took a position covering prep sports with the East Valley Tribune in Mesa. His tenure as a journalist was short lived as he realized his professional goals were going to conflict with the way he wanted to be involved with his family.

  “Even though [being a journalist] was a life goal, it wouldn’t really fit well with me being a good dad because I’d be working in the evenings,” Taylor said.

  Taylor returned to school to pursue a career that would give him the opportunity to be home with his family in the evenings and weekends. He had the chance to forgo student teaching when he was offered a middle school teaching position at J. O. Combs Middle School.

  “[I] got hired as a math teacher and taught math exclusively for I think the first three or four years of my career,” Taylor said.

  A few years later Taylor while teaching Algebra 1 at CHS he read an article about a student with a heart condition. A critical factual error sparked Taylor’s interest in getting involved.

  “The article said that doctors discovered what was wrong with her during her autopsy.” Taylor said. “At that point I was like ‘ahh!’ this has got to get fixed cause an autopsy is the testing they do when a person is dead and Hannah was very much alive.”

  Taylor contacted the adviser and said that he’d be interested in taking over the production if she ever didn’t want to continue. At the end of that school year, Taylor took over the journalism program and quickly, more media opportunities arose.

  “Slowly other things started coming my way,” Taylor said. “I didn’t really think I’d get involved in the television production program that we have on campus, then the yearbook position opened too. Nobody was interested in doing it and just jokingly, I threw the idea out to Mr. Schreel, ‘if nobody wants to do it, maybe they’ll let us do it together’. Now here I am with math being the smallest part of my schedule and advising three different student publications on campus.”

  The 11 years Taylor has been teaching in the district has provided the opportunity to see the high school evolve from the ground up.

  “We have national award winners in our CTE program, we have a champion fine arts program and our theater department continues to get better and be a focal point of our school,” Taylor said.

  With a wide range of classes, sports and clubs on campus, Taylor encourages students to find something they are interested in and jump in head first.

  “There’s something here for almost everybody; if they decide to get involved,” Taylor said. “The same thing goes in college, if you’re just a student on campus it doesn’t mean nearly as much to you then if you are apart of something and for me, I didn’t really feel connected to the university that I went to until I was a sports writer.”

  Taylor believes that every student is brilliant in their own unique way.

  “The kids that go to school here are amazing, they are not always the astrophysicists of the world, but they’re great kids and I drive thirty to thirty-five minutes to work every day at a job that I enjoy the most,” Taylor said.