A group of drama students walked by. A few shouted, "Hi, Mr. Beightol." Swiveling in his seat, Beightol opened his eyes wide, smiled, and waved. A special education teacher sat down and, ignoring Beightol's state, began complaining about her overcrowded classroom. Switching half-heartedly back into his role as union steward, Beightol promised he'd do what he could. "Let me look into the square-footage thing."
After the teacher left, Beightol placed his elbows on the table and reflected on the past few months. The school district is like a machine, he said. "I learned that the machine is larger, with more inertia, than I imagined."
Shawn Beightol's home: a 40-foot wooden sailboat
anchored off the 79th Street Causeway
Miami Edison Senior High, one of the lowest-performing schools in the state