Inside HCZ: Kindu Brown
As a wide receiver, Kindu Brown must be quick and strategically relentless to avoid obstacles in the way of his team’s success. But Brown doesn’t only practice these principles on the football field – he also applies them to his kindergarten classroom at Promise Academy I.
“As a football player and a kindergarten teacher my values are the same – dedication and discipline,” said Brown. “Not a mom nor dad taught me this. Football did.”
Brown had a troubled upbringing in The Bronx with a strained relationship with his parents. At first, Brown was a difficult student and didn’t respect authority figures. But as he grew older, Brown used football to stay out of trouble and find a better way.
“Growing up, my role models came from football – it wasn’t my dad or uncles. It was Deion Sanders,” said Brown, who admired the National Football League Hall of famer’s skill, discipline and dapper style.
Brown attended Hofstra University. There, he continued to play football, but after graduating, Brown realized that his calling wasn’t in football, but education.
“Football wasn’t making me happy, it was making everyone else happy,” said Brown. “I walked away from a potential draft pick and the NFL for teaching. It puzzled everybody.”
At 22, Brown started working as a high-school substitute teacher in his neighborhood. He related to his students and their environment, but he knew he needed to learn more. He turned down a permanent position at the school in order to gain more experience and pursue teaching younger children.
Kindu Brown has not abandoned the discipline that football taught him. Now his days begin at 5 a.m. in the gym and he keeps a regimen of rest and preparation so he is his “best self to best serve” in the classroom and on the field (he still plays on weekends). Brown comes to school dressed in bright, sleek suits much like his idol Deion Sanders.
“Every day I come in, I need to have on a suit and tie,” said Brown. “You’ve got to look the part, play the part, plan for success – and your delivery is that much smoother.”
Still, Brown is a “big kid” in the classroom and enjoys having fun alongside his students. When Brown teaches, he treats each part of the room as if he’s on a stage (sometimes even with props and masks). Providing emotional support to his students is important, so he often reworks his game plan to ensure his students feel welcome and safe. He strives to be the kind of male role model that he needed as a child.
Kindu Brown has been teaching for 12 years. He has just begun his fourth year at Promise Academy where his former students continue to visit him regularly to thank him for being on their team.
“Being a black or brown child – I already know it’s tough. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, I can help them not make the same mistakes I did,” said Brown.
For more on careers at Promise Academy, visit: https://hczpromise.org/careers/