Brian Givens provides guidance as Rainbow principal
WRITTEN BY GREGG L. PARKER
PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOSHUA BERRY
After several years as an administrator, Brian Givens recently finished his first year as principal at Rainbow Elementary School.
“The role of a principal during your first year brings a number of surprises,” Givens said. “I’m an organized person but found myself early on adjusting to the daunting task of improving my overall daily scheduling routine … to stay on top of calendar events from weekly appointments/meetings to school events, professional development training and more.”
Givens’ journey as an educator began with teaching physical science and chemistry at Central High School in Lauderdale County Schools in January 2008. He then taught world history at Hazel Green High School and coached from 2008-2014.
In administration for Madison City Schools, Givens has worked as assistant principal at both Columbia Elementary and Bob Jones High schools. He was Patriot athletic director.
“I fell in love with elementary school while working at Columbia. I loved my time at Bob Jones with so many amazing students and staff, but in my heart I wanted to return to where the journey begins for our children,” Givens said. Rainbow especially attracted him because the campus has welcomed additional students with special needs from MCS’ eastern side.
His educational philosophy is built on the foundation of teaching by using relationships. “We remember the connections and relationships we established with teachers. Do you recall lesson plans from your elementary teachers? Do you remember tests or assessments?” Givens said. Rainbow teachers and Givens strive to connect before they correct, Givens said.
Givens earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and social sciences at the University of North Alabama and a master’s degree in educational leadership from Jacksonville State University.
From his career, Givens said he especially remembers Billy Randolph – his football and baseball coach at Wilson High School – for his unprecedented work ethic and success with players and students. Randolph’s history classes motivated Givens to study that field.
“The energy and enthusiasm he brought on a daily basis was inspirational,” Givens said. “Mr. Randolph pushed me to my limits, but this made me a much stronger student and athlete. He taught me to expect a high standard from others while also having good relationships.”
As MCS faces the next decade, Givens said he hopes for smaller class sizes. He also endorses Superintendent Robby Parker’s vision for Spanish classes in elementary schools and beyond. “As our global workforce changes, we always need to be aware of how this should, in turn, impact our schools and the opportunities we offer our students,” Givens said.
In 2017 the Givens family bought a home in Madison. “We have loved living in Madison and look forward to the future as our family grows in this wonderful city,” Givens said.
After working at Huntsville Hospital as a cardiologist registered nurse, his wife Jana Givens is raising their 7-month-old son Mitchell. Jana plans to return to school to pursue a nurse practitioner or nurse educator position. In August, their 5-year-old son Owen will enter kindergarten at Rainbow.
Brian and Jana volunteer frequently for their church community, particularly Shop With a Hero, which works with at-risk children. The youth meet “heroes,” such as church volunteers, firefighters, police officers, educators and nurses, who help students spend a $100 gift card from Walmart. “It’s very humbling to see so many students receive items at Christmas, despite their situation or circumstances,” Brian said.
A born competitor, Brian said he plans to join an adult baseball or flag football league. In his spare time, he likes to travel; watch college football, especially the Auburn Tigers; read leadership-based books; and create memories with his family.