Quinta Brunson isn’t just parodying schoolteachers with ABC’s Abbott Elementary, she’s actually making a difference in schoolteachers’ lives.
Brunson, 32, who is creator and showrunner of the hit ABC sitcom, revealed during a recent interview with NPR’s Fresh Air that she shifted some of her show’s marketing money to donate supplies to teachers.
“We chose to put the marketing money toward supplies for teachers,” Brunson said, explaining that the production team and network agreed to reallocate some of the money. “It’s about being able to make those kinds of decisions that really excite me, things that can really materially help people.”
Brunson also opened up about the inspiration behind her series, in which she stars as a second grade teacher at an under-resourced, predominantly Black school in Philadelphia. She explained to Fresh Air that she has strong ties to the education system as the daughter of a teacher; the school in Abbott Elementary is not unlike the school where her own mother taught years ago, she said.
“Despite it getting harder, despite teachers not having all the support they need, despite kids growing even more unruly than they’ve been in recent time … she still loved the job,” Brunson said of her mom.”The beauty is someone being so resilient for a job that is so underpaid and so underappreciated because it makes them feel fulfilled.”
The comedian — who starred in A Black Lady Sketch Show before creating Abbott Elementary — also opened up about the special hidden meaning of her show’s name. Brunson said she christened the sitcom after a teacher who helped her out when she switched schools in sixth grade.
“I was scared to go into the real world or what I looked at as the real world at the time, and [Ms. Abbott] just took me under her wing,” she said of the educator, Mrs. Abbott. “She was an incredible teacher who put her all into it, making sure that her students felt special and were ready for the world.”
Brunson has formed her own special bond with the children she works with on Abbott Elementary. In an adorable video posted to Twitter Tuesday, she filmed the actors who play her students on TV saying goodbye to her as the show went on hiatus.
In the cute clip, which has been viewed over 1.6 million times, some of the kids addressed her as Ms. Teagues (the name of her Abbott Elementary character), and told her, “See you on Monday!”
“Abbott Elementary is on hiatus ? to compensate, here’s my favorite video of my kids leaving for the day and not knowing that I’m an actress,” Brunson captioned the adorable moment.
‘Abbott Elementary’ airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on ABC.