Retired Vice Admiral and former Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent David L. Brewer III will share wisdom on navigating life’s straits during Beacon College’s annual Alumni Reunion weekend April 1. Beacon College is the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees to students who learn differently.
“The return of our alumni each year is a special moment for the Beacon community. Each of these graduates represents the college’s most enduring legacy,” said Beacon President George J. Hagerty. “In welcoming them to our campus, we intend for them to be inspired both by Beacon and its development, as well as through the personalities with whom they come into contact. This year, we are eminently fortunate to have Adm. Brewer, a distinguished military and educational leader to address the alumni body. His career has not only been extraordinary in its scope and diversity, but in its dedication to service and pioneering spirit.”
Born in Farmville, Va., Brewer grew up in Orlando where his parents, Mildred S. Brewer and the late David L. Brewer II, both were retired educators. He graduated from Jones High School in Orlando.
At Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Tex., Brewer graced the inaugural graduating class of the first Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps unit the U.S. Navy established at a historically black university. Today, the school’s Naval ROTC building bears his name.
In 1970, former Secretary of Navy, the late Sen. John Chafee, commissioned Brewer as an ensign in the U.S. Navy. Brewer served his country for over 35 years in the United States Navy. During his distinguished naval career, Brewer commanded two ships, the USS Bristol County (LST 1189) and the USS Mount Whitney (LCC 20). Under his command, his ships earned multiple awards for combat efficiency and community service. As an admiral, he served in various roles, including Commander, Amphibious Group Three, with 17,000 sailors and a group of 17 ships, and Commander, Military Sealift Command, with a fleet of 120 ships.
Brewer earned numerous awards including in 2006 the Naval War College’s Distinguished Graduate Leadership Award — only the tenth recipient in the college’s history — the Navy League of the United States Vincent T. Hirsch Maritime Award, and the National Defense Transportation Association’s Department of Defense Distinguished Service Award.
Following his retirement from the U.S. Navy in April 2006, he transitioned into education. Brewer served for two years as the 46th superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second-largest school district with over 700,000 students and better than 800 schools.
Under his leadership, the district turned around four years of declining academic by posting its highest academic gains in more than five years. It also posted the highest academic gains among the major school districts in California, passed the largest school bond in U.S. history — $7 billion — with a record voter approval of 69 percent, reduced the dropout rate by 17 percent and boosted graduation rates from 67 percent to 72 percent. Moreover, the district shored up retention rates, boasting the largest 12th-grade enrollment in nearly three decades.
Today, Brewer serves a national board member of national literacy and mentorship program Read to a Child (formerly Everybody Wins! USA). He also presides over the Jones High School Foundation and serves as the Los Angeles Community Co-Chair of the 5 Million Kids initiative, which will teach five million children, their parents and teachers financial literacy.
He is married to Dr. Richardene “Deanie” Brewer, a distinguished veteran educator. They have a daughter, Stacey, who is an attorney.