Walker cast as Hollywood screenwriter


Will Benjamin, Contributing Writer

Upper School (US) English Teacher Brian Walker will leave the school for Hollywood on February 14, 2022, to take up his dream job— writing for a television show.

Mr. Walker will leave the school to become a screenwriter for “Power Book 3: Raising Kanan,” which follows fictional drug lord Kanan growing up and joining his family’s illegal drug operation in Queens. The show creator discovered Mr. Walker’s book, “Black Boy White School,” and liked his writing, so he decided to reach out to him about the show and interview him for the role.

Mr. Walker said he was at first ambivalent because of a friend’s experience with fame in the arts.

“His band wound up enjoying some commercial success; they started to go out on tour two weeks into it,” he said. “He quit the band and went back home because he was married. He had kids, and he missed them. And so even though this was a lifelong dream of his, the timing was wrong.”

These concerns about the opportunity were magnified by the uncertainty around specifics of the “Power Book 3” job, Mr. Walker said.

“It’s been this yo-yo, roller coaster,” he said. “‘Yes, we’re gonna want to offer [you the job],’ they said, then ‘No, we’re not gonna want to do [that].’”

Imagining how he would have to leave his wife and child, Mr. Walker said, he weighed his dreams against his current reality in a conversation with his wife.

“She asked me where I saw myself in 20 years,” he said. “I said screenwriting. I don’t see myself leaving BB&N for another school, but this is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I felt like if I said no to this that I would not get another.”

Though he’s excited about this opportunity, Mr. Walker said, it will be difficult to leave his family of faculty and students at the US. “The students keep me young. They are, in my opinion, a perfect mix of intellectual curiosity and first-rate goofball-ery,” Mr. Walker said.

Ty Harding ’22, a student of Mr. Walker’s during his sophomore and senior years, said Mr. Walker impacted his high school experience as a teacher and mentor.

“Before Mr. Walker, I don’t think there had really been a teacher that took me aside and said, ‘I’m going to push you to work your hardest and find those strings that you don’t have,’” he said. “That’s when I realized I was really going to trust him and put my all into my work so that I could be the best student I could be. Because if he believes in me, then I can definitely believe in myself as well.”

Hanan Shemsu ’22 had Mr. Walker as an English teacher in English 10 and Rebel Writers and enjoyed reading “Black Boy White School,” she said.

“Although many may not resonate with the title or topic of the book, I encourage you to check it out and take some time to read this wonderful book,” Hanan said.

US English Teacher Wes Williams said when it comes to improving each and every student, Mr. Walker’s extra effort stands out.

“He cares so much about kids,” Mr. Williams said. “He leads with that, and that’s easy to see in the way he interacts with students. He cares about not only their intellectual work but about their character—who they are.”

Mr. Williams said he’ll miss his conversations with Mr. Walker.

“I think Mr. Walker has brought so much to BB&N, and that’s going to be hard to fill,” he said. “But it sounds like such a great opportunity for him—my friend.”

US Science Teacher Anthony Moccia said he appreciated getting to know Mr. Walker and having deep conversations with him.

“He’s a passionate teacher, someone who listens deeply and prides himself on being genuine,” Mr. Moccia said.

Mr. Walker has been here for only three years, but he has made lasting connections with faculty and students, Mr. Moccia said.

“I feel honored to have had the chance to know and work with him. I’m thankful that now the world gets to see how amazing he is, too.”