Assistant principal at Collinwood High School
Brandon Towns moved to Mentor-on-the-Lake in 2014 with his wife Tristyn, who was returning to her hometown. At the time, he couldn’t imagine the difference he would make in the community — or the impact his new home would have on him.
“Any place is only as good as the people there, and the people in Mentor-on-the-Lake are definitely second to none,” Towns says. “They’re hungry for truth, for justice, yet still humble enough to listen.”
After seeing what was happening in Minnesota in the summer of 2020, Towns organized a Racial Justice Week and petitioned Mentor-on-the-Lake to pass a city resolution condemning racism. It was unanimously approved.
“There’s a lot of things going on in society that are really hard to stomach,” he says. “But when you can go home and be with people who see you, who care about you, who validate your existence, who protect you and defend you — it recharges you. It keeps you going.”
Towns is now a candidate for Mentor Public Schools’ Board of Education and, if elected, he would be the only member living in Mentor-on-the-Lake. “There are a lot of things we’re doing, even on the school board level, that really have the potential to just do right and stand on the right side of history,” he says.
There’s still work to be done, but Towns is committed to serving the community that helped him feel welcomed, recognized and validated. “There’s a point when a house becomes a home,” he says. “Mentor-on-the-Lake isn’t just a place where I lay my head — it’s where I lay my heart.”