Giving Students Freedom Within a Framework

Brittany Wagner

Star of the Netflix Hit Last Chance U

Motivational Speaker

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I talked with Brittany Wagner, star of the hit Netflix show Last Chance U, about the difficulties that COVID-19 presents to our education systems. Parents are having to juggle work responsibilities with serving as a “teacher” to their children during this time. Brittany offers some practical strategies for adults who are serving as teachers for their youngsters right now such as letting children develop their own schedule and adhere to it, give them the freedom to be who they are within a larger framework, and much more.


Something that is key in this situation and in working with athletes overall is something I call Freedom Within a Framework - we (as adults) can create the framework, but we have to allow our young people the freedom to be who they are.



Brittany is a nationally respected athletic academic counselor and motivational speaker best known for her role as the breakout star of the hit Netflix documentary series, Last Chance U. Recognized for her compassion, encouragement, and no-nonsense attitude, Brittany has served as mentor, mother, and disciplinarian to the individuals behind some of college football’s most inspiring success stories. Throughout her career, Brittany has guided many young men to academic and professional success despite run-ins with the law, extreme poverty, abandonment, and often a complete lack of academic preparedness. Brittany’s inadvertent stardom led to feature interviews with ABC’s NightlineThe Dan Patrick ShowGQThe New York Times, The LA Times and Sports Illustrated — to name just a few.


Prior to filming the documentary series, Brittany spent over fifteen years working with college athletes. During her eight years at East Mississippi Community College in Scooba, Mississippi, she helped over 200 football players academically qualify for nationally respected NCAA Division I schools. All of the students Brittany previously advised who made it to the NFL also hold college degrees.


Over the past two years, Brittany has traveled all over the United States as a motivational speaker. In the fall of 2017, she launched her own company, Ten Thousand Pencils (10KP). Through 10KP, Brittany is able to aid at-risk youth by working individually with high school and college-level administrators, counselors, and teachers to help them build relationships with these students and better understand and support their emotional, social, and academic needs.


Charter Communications will begin production in 2020 on a new, scripted television series based on Brittany’s personal and professional life. Michael Strahan and Courteney Cox are executive producers on the project. Courteney will also star in the show, portraying Brittany.



0:41 – How parents can deal with taking on the role as “teacher” during the COVID-19 pandemic


4:00 – The differences in routines in a school setting vs. what kids and parents are dealing with now


7:45 – Why sometimes you just need to “get it done” and move on


11:00 – Most athletes are kinesthetic learners and examples of that


13:20 – Long-term impact of COVID-19 situation on education disparity


18:30 – With schools being a safe place for a lot of kids, what happens when schools are closed?


22:00 – This pandemic is being compared to 9/11 but how it is also vastly different


25:00 – The nightmare of collegiate eligibility when campuses re-open


 32:42 – Brittany’s new show on Netflix and serving as a co-producer with Michael Strahan and Courtney Cox

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