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Last Chance U star: If enough educators think this way, we can change education in America

We don't meet the true star of "Last Chance U." until 14 minutes into the premier episode. It's not Ollie, D.J. Law, John Franklin or any of the East Mississippi Community College players. It's not head coach Buddy Stephens. It's not even quarterbacks coach Clint Trickett and his Hollywood-leading-man looks. It's academic advisor Brittany Wagner.

"I've always had a dream to make a difference, to impact people's futures, people's lives. It's probably where I'm most effective. Put me at a place where I can impact people the most," she tells the camera, self-reflecting on seven years in Scooba. "I think right now this maybe this is just where I need to be."

Wagner, the Lions' conscience, team mom, academic missionary and self-described "eligibility specialist," has seen her profile rise with the show as "Last Chance U." has risen to cult classic status. Her Twitter account, less than 200 followers before the show's debut, is now closing in on 14,000.

Wagner, naturally, had no idea that her positive attitude laced with Southern charm would catch on nationally like it did. And why would she? As the show teaches us, the only thing Scooba exports is football players, not TV stars.

"The whole thing has sort of blown my mind," she told the Jackson Clarion-Ledger. “I think I was naive about the scope of audience that this (documentary) was going to reach.

"I’ve always enjoyed a simple life. I didn’t even have internet at my house until a couple of years ago when my daughter got an iPad for Christmas. I didn’t have a computer at home, didn’t feel like I needed one. I did my work at the office and didn’t care about getting on social media."

But Wagner says the show's impact has opened her eyes to the role she plays in her players' lives, and, more importantly, done the same for others in the process.

"I didn’t realize my role in the show until I started reading the nearly 300 emails I’ve received," she told the paper. "It’s mind blowing to me that I’ve motivated anyone. But I think we’ve come to a point in our society where there is such hopelessness. People are sitting in their own little space thinking ‘nothing I do matters.’

"But we all matter. And I’ve had teachers tell me, ‘This year is going to be different. When I stand in front of my class, I’m going to really get to know my students.’ If enough educators think that way, we can change education in America."

Read the full story here.