New High School Principal’s First-Year Goals: Learn and Listen

Brady Lake considers it a moral imperative to make students’ educational experience as positive as possible

Name: Brady Lake

School: Caledonia Community Schools High School

What will be your first priorities as principal?
I need to learn about Caledonia High School. I need to learn its history, where they are going and where they are currently. I will start creating relationships with the staff, students and the community. As a new principal I don’t want to come in with my own agenda before I learn where they’re at and what their needs are, so I’ll do lot of listening and a lot of asking questions my first year there.

What are you most looking forward to as principal here?
When you go from assistant principal to principal there is so much more on your plate and so much more planning and vision. I’m really excited to sit down with staff and find out where they want to go, what they want the future of Caledonia High School to look like and how I can help them get there.

What was your previous job?
Assistant principal at Byron Center High School

What college degrees did you earn?
I have a bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University, a masters in educational leadership from Saginaw Valley State University and a teaching certification from Eastern Michigan University.

What other positions you have held in education?
I started my teaching career in Beal City, a little town northwest of Mount Pleasant. I was a middle school teacher and assistant football and track coach for three years.

I went to St. Charles in the 2003-04 school year as a teacher and head football coach and worked there for 12 years. Then I came to Byron Center.

Spouse and children?
My wife, Jen, and I have two children, Cole, 11, and Will, 8.

What are your hobbies and interests?
Educational leadership keeps you very busy, so that is my hobby, but I like to spend a lot of time camping with my family in the summers. Really, I consider my hobbies being a school administrator, a father and a husband, and outside of that don’t have the time for a whole lot of things. Raising two boys is an interesting hobby and I enjoy it very much.

Camper of choice?
We own a Jayco. We just bought a new one and I am picking it up today.

What inspires you?
Students’ lives impacted by their educational experience and preparing them for life is a very serious task. I think there’s a moral imperative to make their educational experience as positive and effective as possible. That’s my main source of inspiration. Students who become better people when they leave our schools is a mission I take very seriously.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I’m a lot kinder and gentler than people first give me credit for. I have a serious look on my face. I am a very serious person because I take my job seriously. It takes a while for people to get to know me before they realize I’m a lot kinder and gentler. My wife tells me I need to smile more. I’m working on it.

Tell me about a non-professional book you recommend and why.
I read a book titled, “The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. It’s a very controversial book and some districts have tried to ban it. It’s a great story about a young man who overcomes terrible difficulties and terrible odds and is very successful. It’s very inspirational. There’s humor, sadness and there’s triumph and agony. It’s the kind of book I like to recommend to students as a way to introduce them to the pleasures of reading. I hooked a lot of kids on reading through that book.

What makes you laugh?
Good friends. Relationships. A lot of things. I love kidding around with people. We have a great staff at Byron Center and we kid each other a lot. I like to think I have a very good sense of humor and laugh often here.

Would you ever do stand-up comedy?
A couple of teachers who are friends of mine did stand-up for a class they enrolled in at Michigan State University. We watched them one night at an establishment in East Lansing that was a culminating activity for that class, and they flopped horribly. I think I would be a better writer than a deliverer of jokes. I like to be behind the scenes writing the jokes. I’m not a great joke deliverer.

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