Brett Michael Mills loves a good story and appreciates a good storyteller. It’s a quality that led him to list Abraham Lincoln as one of his favorite figures from history and a quality he admires in his dad, one of his biggest influences. It’s also a talent Brett brings to the classroom and his work as a professional development instructor with the Bill of Rights Institute.
Brett has been in the classroom for 28 years. Currently, he teaches U.S. History, U.S. Military History, Warfare in Antiquity, History of the Cold War, and Civil War Era at St. Thomas High School in Houston, Texas. He received his B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Montana and has an M.A. in Military Studies (Military History) from the American Military University. He first knew he wanted to be a historian and teacher when he was very young, but his life took a slight detour (six years in the United States Army) before landing in the classroom.
Brett’s proudest achievements as an educator are the five elective courses he designed that are used daily and have high student demand every year. “I have been improving them each year,” says Brett, “and I am really excited about my newest class, the Civil War Era, and the positive student response to it.” He has also created the History Guild, which provides professional development content to teachers in the Houston metroplex.
Brett has been using BRI resources in his classroom for many years before joining the Institute as a PDI. “BRI uses a wide variety of scholars to create the most current and well-written content…and it is located online and is extremely easy to search for the content you want to use,” Brett notes. “My personal favorites are the point/counter-point lessons – I use them all of the time in the classroom!”
Outside of the classroom, Brett is a rugby fanatic. “I played for 11 years,” he says, “and have been coaching (high school, college, men’s) since then. I have also done television and radio broadcasting for Major League Rugby (Houston Sabercats), and last season was the Sabercats public address announcer.”
Aside from his dad, Brett says his biggest inspiration is his wife of 32 years, Sonya. “She inspires me with her love, empathy, work ethic, and commitment to excellence – I would definitely be a different person without her influence!”